PAX Online 2020 Highlight – Pumpkin Jack

Posted on September 20, 2020

There’s been plenty of great demos from PAX Online this year. Though, with October quickly creeping closer, one game sticks out as a true festive favourite.

Pumpkin Jack is a 3D-platformer featuring the mythological Halloween legend. In the linear old-school style of Medievil, this jaunty project by one-man team Nicolas Meyssonnier is wonderfully seasonal.

The story begins when The Devil himself decides to shake things up a bit, unleashing the Curse of the Eternal Night among the world. In retaliation, a masterful wizard emerges to bring peace back to the Earth and humanity. In retaliation, The Devil summons Pumpkin Jack. Into the skin of a pumpkin, a scarecrow, and a raven pal; Pumpkin Jack is ready to fight back.

Meyssonnier’s light-hearted creation wears its influences on its sleeves while adding plenty of unique flair. Combat includes mastering dodging, timing, and movement to vanquish all foes. Special abilities allow Jack to attack from a range or with an area of effect to up the arsenal that much more.

Admittedly, the combat isn’t anything new. It’s a combination of all the memorable 3D-action platformers from the PlayStation and Nintendo 64 era. Although, this combat is a refined version of what we expect. It’s fluid and colourful, complementing the beautiful art style of this short demo.

There is something certainly enchanting about the universe of Pumpkin Jack. The demo is set within a spooky farm area, where players lead Jack through cornfields full of deadly skulls and a barn which Jack accidentally burns down. They are all distinctly Halloween themed, with all the expected settings in the full release. Light sources like fire and glowing orbs have a glowing quality complimenting the rest of the vivid environment.

Pumpkin Jack will encounter puzzle side-quests throughout the adventure, leading to some intriguing problems. Each is based upon a riddle that surrounds the mechanics of physics, gravity, and reflection to solve. Burn books, hammer some moles, or create paths to keep moving on the adventure.

Like the combat, the puzzles aren’t anything mindblowing. They serve as a nice distraction from the linear adventure of the main game and delivers a moderate challenge.

Pumpkin Jack could be a new 3D-platforming mascot. Kids will love the colourful universe. Older players will cherish the nostalgic gameplay. Everyone is going to love the Halloween theme. We’re certainly looking forward to playing the full release on PC, Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in the coming months.

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