Pumpkin Jack | PS5 Review
Updated: Nov 19, 2021
Pumpkin Jack is a classic style 3D platform puzzle game where you take on the role of anti-hero, Jack the Mythical Pumpkin Lord. Pumpkin Jack was developed by Nicolas Meyssonnier and published by Headup Games. It was originally released on Windows PC, PlayStation, XBox, and Nintendo Switch; however, now finally available on both next-gen consoles just in time for Halloween, I will be covering the PlayStation 5 version.
Pumpkin Jack is a spooky platformer where you have to guide Jack on an epic quest through the Boredom Kingdom which is a magical realm that has been shattered by something simply called ‘The Curse’. The characterisation in Pumpkin Jack fits well with other platformers that I’d grown up with and I really enjoyed the dialogue and story telling sections. The narrator fits the style and tone that the game set so perfectly.
The Boredom Kingdom instantly felt familiar to me in the sense that the platforming was so reminiscent of games that I’d loved and adored as a child. My first comparison was MediEvil which, as a child, was a favourite. The spooky, gothic graphics and the jokes were something that I’ve never forgotten. Unfortunately, MediEvil didn’t age terribly well so I’ve always held onto those wonderful memories and never found another game that brings back those nostalgic feelings until I played Pumpkin Jack. There were a massive amount of little nods to folklore and mythology found throughout the game, such as the Krampus, with little ferry sections that reminded me of Charon from Norse Mythology. Alongside this, there is also a whole level which is (I believe) based on The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Alongside the fantastic graphics and vibrant yet grim environment, there is also a wonderful soundtrack filled with orchestral classical music merged with the typical spooky Halloween-esque music. This just brought the whole atmosphere and enjoyment together for me and for the first time since I was a young child I felt some sort of Halloween magic - like I was fully in the spirit of the season. Each of the six worlds all had a totally unique look and sound which is a big achievement in my opinion because Pumpkin Jack isn’t attempting to re-invent the wheel in terms of changing or adding much to the platform genre. The levels are all pretty linear and despite this, everything feels unique and not the same thing recycled over and over again.
Within the PlayStation 5 version, there was sufficient use of haptic feedback through the controller's rumble pack which made everything feel more exciting - however it would have been nice to have seen some use of the adaptive triggers. But the main thing about the PlayStation 5 version is the graphical upgrade compared to the original release and in my opinion; the upgrades are HUGE. With that said, the game runs really well, the controls work as intended and the platforming is nice and smooth which just allowed me to enjoy the game and have a great time.
I thoroughly enjoyed Pumpkin Jack and would most certainly recommend it to anyone who is keen on classic 3D platformers introduced in 2021. It stays true to the typical formula of a platform game and doesn’t disappoint with the fantastic scene and setting that is given to us. I’d quite happily recommend Pumpkin Jack to anyone of any age or skill level.
Lj’s Rating: 4.5 pumpkin heads out of 5.
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Many thanks to Plan of Attack for the Review Key.