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Jazz: Trump's Journey

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad, PS Vita

Mmmm, nice

Product: Jazz: Trump's Journey | Developer: Egg Ball | Publisher: Bulkypix | Format: iPhone | Genre: Platform | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.2
Jazz: Trump's Journey iPhone, thumbnail 1
It's very rare that a game on the App Store finds something original or interesting to say. There are always new mechanics and new gameplay variations, but new voices and new narratives seem to have fallen by the wayside.

That's one of the reasons Jazz: Trump's Journey is so important. From its subdued palette and beautiful art style all the way through its flashback tale of New Orleans Jazz, it manages to feel fresh.

In a sphere dominated by copycats and clones, this is a game that stands on its own two feet. It's challenging, endearing, and the perfect antidote to the malaise that sometimes afflicts smartphone gaming.

Be-bop, step, and a jump

The game is, as you might expect, the story of Trump. He's an aspiring Jazz trumpeter from a down-at-heel neighbourhood in New Orleans who dreams of forming a band and winning the big competition.

It's your job to lead Trump through a beautifully stylised Big Easy, collecting musical notes and band members until you're ready to play your first big show. There are dastardly villains who'll try and halt your progress, and a love interest too.

At its heart, Jazz: Trump's Journey is a puzzling platform romp, with a central hub that works a little bit like the one you'll find in Braid. An older Trump tells the story through the rooms in his mansion, with each floor representing one of the four musicians you need to recruit.

Platform fusion

The levels are brilliantly designed, and require equal parts dexterity and brain power. A simple control system lets you move Trump left and right and jump, with on-screen buttons that rarely interfere with any of the sumptuous art on show.

You can use your trumpet to manipulate time, pausing certain objects and allowing you to solve puzzles and make impossible leaps a walk in the park. The mechanic never feels overdone, and Egg Ball Games manage to find ingenious new ways for you to use it.

While it relies on the lessons of several generations' worth of platforming adventures, Jazz: Trump's Journey never feels old. It pays homage, but adds new twists, re-sculpting classic escapades to fit into its own musical rhythms.

The spirit o'jazz

From the run-down aesthetic of '20s New Orleans to the soundtrack that builds as you add new members to your band, everything in Jazz: Trump's Journey serves a purpose, pushing the story and the action along with a wonderful grace.

There are a few places where the difficulty spikes are a tad too sharp. And the controls, while more often than not fine, sometimes let you down at the most inopportune moments.

Some of the translation needs work. too. But these little niggles shouldn't detract from what is a remarkable piece of iOS gaming.

At its very best, Jazz: Trump's Journey is a polished, refined piece of platforming magic. It's smooth and delightful to play, and watching its different parts make a cohesive whole is a unique and thoroughly enjoyable experience.

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Jazz: Trump's Journey
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 21 January 2012
A wonderful, articulate meander through the birth of a musical style, Jazz: Trump's Journey shows just how important and innovative iOS games have the power to be
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