Indies In Adventures: Review of “Da New Guys: Day of the Jackass” (PC)

There are countless wrestling shows and wrestling games, but what about adventure games? ICEBOX Studios Da New Guys: Day of the Jackass wants to fill this gap.

Da New Guys: Day of the Jackass (PC)
(UK 2011, developer: ICEBOX Studios, publisher: Wadjet Eye Games, platform: PC)

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Worst wrestling star ever wins title and gets kidnapped. His friends, who are more brawns than brains, try to find him and find the sinister reason behind this atrocity against the honor of wrestlemania.

Wrestlemania with stories to tell… and laughter ensues
Wrestling is all about the show and the extravagant stories each competitor has to tell. Sure there’s also some skill required not to break one’s face, legs and other body parts (despite the general consensus it’s all fake and staged, there’s still danger for injuries), but it’s usually all about selling one’s character to the audience.

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So it comes as no surprise that the characters in Da New Guys are as exaggerated as the world they live in. Now this idea of anti-heroes who don’t fit in the standard roster of happy-go-lucky-or-unfortunate adventure games may be quite unique (even if Strong Bad’s Cool Game For Attractive People did a much better job with the source material), but it also means that they can easily alienate gamers. It isn’t that they’re not likeable, but the protagonists are simply a bit too one-dimensional (no pun with the graphics intended) and the story is rather uninteresting.

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Humor is another point in which the game sometimes succeeds, but often fails. It tries too much and achieves very little when it comes to genuinely funny lines and comic situations which are usually of the in-your-face variety. Unlike the South Park series which boasts the same kind of badly drawn backgrounds and off-beat characters and which relishes in controversy, addressing certain social, political or just pop culture issues, Da New Guys comes across as a crude mix of rudeness, slapstick moments and just silliness, even though poking fun at the wrestling fan community and some weird characters adds to the fun factor.

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Cowardly Old Puzzle World and what’s the dealio with genres?
Not exactly knowing which style to choose is also reflected in the gameplay and puzzle design. The latter consists of rather conventional and sometimes obscure inventory-based affairs which seldom reach the same level of quality of LucasArts which it clearly tries to imitate. Even with its self-awareness of performing stupid tasks like collecting stuff and getting more complicated than is necessary, the gameplay seldom shines as something truly standing out in the crowd of similar games.

Despite its sometimes weird puzzles, the game isn’t that difficult, which is due to few hotspots and items. Still it’s necessary for the player to find all the connections between various locations, its NPCs and the objects he finds. Hints aren’t that well-placed, and it ocassionally boils down to trial-and-error situations, but overall it’s just the right difficulty for most players. More variety is also added by later switching between two characters one can control (and items given to or taken from), each with its own unique abilities and how they interact with the others.

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What’s quite disappointing is how the game tries to incorporate other genres. Short segments of stealth, RPG and even action may surprise, but more often simply come across as superfluous and trying too hard to be different that a standard point-and-click adventure. The different sections are seldom well integrated in the storytelling, unlike later Strong Bad’s episodic approach, in which e.g. the RPG is ridiculed, but implemented in the overall story and puzzle design.

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A scrapbook presentation
The presentation is of course due to its intentional bad minimalistic hand-scrawling-style rather unspectacular, even if at the end there’s a change in the game engine from 2D into 3D which looks pretty cool (and if you want to see how the developer can achieve this treat, check out this short da New Guys film). It has a certain charme and personality, but it won’t win any awards for something truly unique or memorable. Background, character animations are all rather reminiscent of a fan adventure, so it’s a good thing that the voice acting is overall very good.

The lines the characters deliver might not always be the funniest, but at least they are handled in a professional way. Music is something of a mixed back, as it’s either lost in the background, in more dramatic scenes (of which there aren’t that many) quite nice or sometimes simply absent.

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For those who endure and have a different taste
Da New Guys: Day of the Jackass is a weird adventure game which works to a certain degree, but only if one turns off any logic and simply goes with the flow of one bad line of dialogue following a good one, rolling-eyes-inducing animations conveying have-to-be-applauded-for-being-a-brilliant-idea moments. It’s really that balancing act between downright stupid and genuinely funny which characterize the game’s presentation.

For an adventure game, it lacks the polish and originality a title like Strong Bad’s Game For Attractive People offers, but the puzzles are still fun and despite its short length of 4-5 hours, it’s an enjoyable nostalgic trip back to the olden days if one dismisses its faults in the humor and graphics department, which is a shame, because Chris Burton surely knows how to do animation if one looks at the short films portfolio on his website (En Passant looking especially promising).

Rating: 7/10

Buy the PC game on
the Wadjet Eye Games Website

Make sure you check out the free to download Da New Guys original from 2004!

Official Website

If you liked reading this article, make sure you pay a visit to Future Sack which kindly features it as well, and every Facebook LIKE or comment is appreciated :).

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About nufafitc

Being an avid gamer, cinemaniac, and bookworm in addition to other things the internet and new media present, I'm also very much into DIY music, rock and pop in particular. Writing short or longer pieces about anything that interests me has always made me happy. As both an editor for German website "Adventure-Treff" and UK website "Future Sack", I like to write reviews and news about recent developments in the movies, games and book industry.
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