Games of the Year

Pumpkin Jack

Pumpkin Jack Screenshot 1
Pumpkin Jack Screenshot 2
Pumpkin Jack Screenshot 3
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Pumpkin Jack is a spooky scary 3D platformer in which you embody Jack, the Mythical Pumpkin Lord! Dive into an epic adventure through otherworldly landscapes and help the Evil annihilate the Good! Colorful Cartoon Setting: Travel through lurid landscapes in levels featuring alluring atmospheres, each crafted with vibrant color palettes, and high-quality lighting effects Fight For Your Life: With challenging beasts lurking around every corner, players must master the art of combo attacks; dodging, and timing to survive dynamic real-time battles! Players must unlock weapons and choose wisely in order to strike down all who oppose them Don't Lose Your Head: Solve puzzles that focus on physics; gravity, and reflection as Jack, or ditch the skinsuit and just use your flaming head to burn books; hammer some moles, create paths for magic spheres; and more as each level introduces new and exciting challenges Find Friends to Fight at Your Side: Helpful companions are there to assist Jack on his journey, including a haughty hooty owl to guide him along; and a snarky crow, itching to assist with long-range attacks
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

If you want the videogame equivalent of your grandma's mac and cheese, you should check out this game. It will make you feel like you’re a 10 year old picking this up at a Blockbuster on a Friday evening.
Playing this was reminiscent of the action platformers of the PS2 era with a touch of Medievil as well. Had a great time with it.
This is basically a AAA game from 1997. It's not going to compete with modern platformers, but for a $30 indie game it's actually impressive what they were able to come up with, even if it's a little outdated and basic. The writing can be a little... immature? Like a teenage graphic novel type writing.
I say $30 is kind of a steep price. I'd maybe wait for a sale. At $15 the game is well worth it. The game is pretty short, but It is real fun to play; Especially if you are looking for a Halloween game to get you into the spirit.
7/10

Review from Steam

Short and sweet platformer, reminded me of medievil a bit. Played it fully on the deck, was able to get 60 FPS lowering shadows and post processing to low, other options off, and native res, No TDP limiter, battery life was around 1h and 50 min and 2h~.
The game itself is pretty simple, collect crow skull to buy skins, you get weapons after defeating each boss, and kill whatever shows up, some sections like the gargoyle one can be a bit of a pain in the ass, just like the portal ones, where you need to dodge incoming stuff and also shoot gates/enemies with your companion. Those dodging stages might be the low point of the game for me with the minigame needing to shoot shapped gifts into the correct slot fast enough or the bar starts going down. But that's it, the game didn't felt long or too short. Story is pretty straight forward, you can't get lost, levels arent massive or open maps, there is a clear way to go and reach your next objective.
Didn't had any game breaking bugs, first time running it on the deck had to reboot once i think to apply the res and fullscreen option. Worth checking out if you are itching for a short platformer.

Review from Steam

Carefully said, a pretty decent to good 3D indie platformer from a single dev. Yeah, I know, I might be a bit understating, but I’m only saying ‘decent’ in this case, because in comparison to such old and new genre masterpieces like Spongebob, Spyro, Hat in Time and the like, or even mid-Indie ones like New Super Lucky Tale or the beloved (or by some people hated) Yooka-Laylee it definitely shows that the game is lacking in some aspects. I’d definitely rather rank it into the region of smaller projects like Effie, Ginger or the meanwhile delisted Skylar&Plux. But hey, being a one-man-project that’s natural and unavoidable I guess. Yeah, I admit, that’s a lot of judgment for a first statement, so out of general fairness I probably owe it to explain a bit more what I’m meaning. And after all, after that you can judge for yourself if those aspects are a turn-off for you or not.
Alright, where do I start. I think the gameplay in itself is rather solid (with a casual to easy difficulty, the only spike being the final boss fight), and you can definitely see how much love the dev put into the game and the different backgrounds/levels, so generally this really makes my heart go boom. The effort literally can be felt oozing out everywhere, no kidding. But, I don’t know, I just wasn’t hooked. Probably the biggest problem in my opinion is the overall repetition of nearly all elements. You see, for example there’s a ride/run in EVERY level, and though they are admittedly a bit different (horse/gargoyle/boat/mine cart etc.), they are still pretty much the same in execution. And this makes the game predictable and boring. Those rides are even often repeated THRICE inside a level. And the same goes for the minigames. As cool as they are, but as soon as I played one, I already knew, alright, I have to at least do 2-3 of them in the next minutes. Good advice to the dev, please don’t overuse those mechanics, as they tire players too soon. And the same also applies to the dialogs. I would have wished for more variation (after playing for an hour, I pretty much read/seen it all).
Hmm, what else. Another thing to work on probably are the fights. Though the different weapons are kind of cool, there’s nearly no point in switching. It’s mostly mindless hack/slash button-mashing (dodging in limited spaces is kind of useless anyway) until the enemies are done, and therefore feels empty. Double jump is imprecise, especially if you try to jump around a corner. Camera angles are awful in boss fights sometimes (like scenery/walls clip into the view).
Engine-wise I definitely had some problems as well. The DX12 version crashed when using Gecata and didn’t save my options (especially the post processing was always reset to low when I started anew). DX11 worked, but somehow V-Sync was messed up then (so I had to use my Nvidia Control for that). And another thing, graphics-wise the game was extremely blurry due to the heavy depth of field effects (some people also maybe will dislike the chromatic aberration). Sadly the game has no settings for those, so I had to resort to administer my own changes in the engine.ini file. Seriously, before I really got into playing I literally had to try out lots of fixes to get the game in a state that I could live with.
Anyway, I know this all might sound kind of harsh, but nevertheless, all this criticism and the medium length issue aside, I definitely can’t help but to recommend this little game. For a single dev it’s still outstanding work, soundtrack is great, and I’m definitely looking forward to any future projects of him. Just keep all those aspects I mentioned in mind, and also consider if the pretty high price tag is worth that for yourself (disclaimer: I myself got it in Humble Choice, so for me it was absolutely perfect in this regard).

Review from Steam

I covered this game as part of my coverage of the Humble Choice for June 2022
A competent platformer, but that’s it.
The minute you start playing Pumpkin Jack you realize you’re playing a solid platformer. The controls work well, the double jump just feels right, and the level gives just the right amount of hints on where to go next. And then suddenly you found a secret item where your character does a little funky dance. This is all part of the DNA of a typical platformer with a bit of a collect-a-thon.
But Pumpkin Jack is just that. A solid platformer that doesn’t stand out. The art looks acceptable, the level design is ok, and the story works, but that it. There’s not a lot to buy with the collected items, and the game isn’t that long either. But overall the game just feels ok. This isn’t necessarily a bad or a good thing, it’s just average, and that’s probably the biggest issue I have with Pumpkin Jack.
I will say this is created by a single developer, which is impressive, but as a gamer, this is a 30-dollar title, and my mind kept asking why I wasn’t playing something else like A Hat in Time. I want to see more by the Developer whose name I’d butcher, Nicolas Meyssonnier because he delivered a finished product, but maybe take a little more time with the design as well.
Pick this up if you love 3d Platformers and need a new one after playing most of them. The issue here is more about how much competition there is in the genre and how many have done this better. The game also throws achievements at the player, I earned 10 out of 33 in under one hour. Still, I want to stress, that this isn’t a negative review. It’s just not a positive one either.
If you want to see the video this was taken of, or more from me on the Humble Choice or Game Pass, check out:

Review from Steam

A nostalgic throwback, Pumpkin Jack is a spooky-themed linear 3D platformer consisting of six levels which slowly introduce their own unique challenges and obstacles; frequently they are broken up with more ‘actiony’ sequences, puzzles, collectables and conclude with a boss fight. The writing was fairly cheesy at times but it didn’t fail to make me laugh.
I found the game to be visually very dark and had to turn down shadow settings to see but aside from that the graphics are vibrant, cartoony and colourful. The soundtrack wouldn't sound out of place within a Tim Burton movie, I also thoroughly enjoyed how ‘classical’ pieces were incorporated into the music. The only performance issue I had was just after the third boss fight (during a horse riding sequence) where my framerate plummeted.
The controls are solid. Combat feels challenging but fair. In the early game you can definitely get away with running around and spamming the ‘crow attack’. The crow can reach so far, it is possible to snipe enemies before you even engage them.
Boss fights are a lot of fun, they can be quite chaotic with lots of information to process and mechanics to watch out for. They all consist of three rounds, each round usually being to avoid attacks until an opening to retaliate is available. The fourth boss was the only time I felt the game was unreasonable because I couldn’t see the difference between safe and dangerous floor areas even with adjustments to my video settings.
It seems as though this game at one point intended to include a spider boss and spider enemies and whilst I understand why they were removed because of phobias, perhaps they could be included with an optional future DLC? Still highly recommend it as it stands, an incredibly impressive game for a solo developer.

Review from Steam

Very nice surprise, gotta congratulate Developer Nicolas Meyssonnier. Went in expecting rather average platformer with decent combat, but Pumpkin Jack good amount of variety and stays fresh for it's run time. Well think the combat is rather decent, but at least there is several weapons with different ideas behind them.
Ye olde Satan is mad so he sents Jack on earth with promise of freedom or something like that. Earth's hero is already hampering Jack's journey to get some ultimate powaaah, so naturally they become rivals and enemies. Jack whacks good lot of undead and actually mainly them in his journey, Earth forces seem to be least of the issues on the road for him. As there are other NPCs doing their own interest around like Witch and her husband. Also not forgetting the coward crow on Jack's shoulder who can be used as projectile against enemies.
Gameplay consists of combat, platforming, exploration for collectibles for different skins (literal skins), chase/race/fly phases and puzzle solving. Not forgetting boss fights which were very well done in all six levels, they even get better towards the end.
Overall charming in style and well together brought adventure platformer, with decent combat and fun story and characters.

Review from Steam

Halloween- themed, platformer with an emphasis on precision jumping. The story is spooky in a cute way and can be fun for older kids and adults. With item collecting, weapons and costume upgrades and a delightfully corny banter between Jack and his sidekick, this game is fun and has plenty to do between boss fights. Kinda reminds me of Banjo-Kazooie... if Banjo were an "evil' spirit possessing a pumpkin.
I did have to modify some settings as the jump mechanics and camera angling were awkward, which was a bit troubling for jumping. Also, the game keeps count and announces how many time your character dies which got to be a little annoying considering most falls kill Jack instantly.
Overall, I had fun with this game initially. I did lose interest before finishing it, but had a good enough time before that so I'm still recommending it. If nothing else, it's a great game to play in early autumn to get you into the Halloween spirit ;)

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