Da New Guys: Day of the Jackass
There are some things in life that’ll never work in tandem. For example, WWE and Tapout making films starring fighters placed in awkward roles, attempting to convey a degree of depth amidst a mish mash of situations and genres somehow translating as narrative. While games have had more success when it comes to the mix & match business, Wadjet Eye’s recent release of Da New Guys: Day of the Jackass may as well serve as an active reminder of how things can go wrong.
Da titular ‘New Guys’ in question are a ragtag three-man group starring Brain – the egotistical attention hogger, The Defender – the sensible masked prude of the gang, and Simon – the generic strongman. Their recent battle in the Wrestle Zone ring has earned them the championship belt, much to the dismay of their peers. But before they can commit to celebration, Brain is suddenly kidnapped and it’s up to his companions to come to his rescue.
If it was anything but a point-and-click, the premise of wrestlers turned makeshift detectives might’ve worked. Even still, a bit of writing can go a long way. Unfortunately, Da New Guys tries packing on too many ideas at once, with no additional hands to spare for opening any doors. Much of the game is peppered in jokes ranging from the lame to, at best, the average. Furthermore, the plot doesn’t flesh out well enough to even match up to what worked 20 years ago.
Worse is the fact that the characters are either one dimensional or poorly conceived. For instance, Brain’s presence seems completely pointless – even the entire cast does little to acknowledge any finer points in his character, and at one point no one remembers why they’re trying to rescue him in the first place. This is the result of the developers’ evident struggle in trying to divide up enough air time among the varied cast. Coupled with the genre’s passive nature, which can have one forget that most of these characters are supposed to be wrestlers, the lineup does very little to impact or have us develop any sort of care towards the characters and their agendas.
Facilitating the apathy is DNG’s visuals – immediately recognized. The hand drawn cast appears very amateurish, standing out like sore thumbs against the so-so backgrounds. Additionally, the character designs lack any conspicuous use of imagination and aesthetics. Including the horrible voice acting, one can easily make the conscious decision to dismiss Brain’s relevance as he looks like a coder adorned in a leather jacket. Simon looks to be either a knock off of Steve Austin or a beat ‘em up enemy who asked his agent to find him different work. Given his unique appearance, The Defender may be the only character that players will warm up to – appearing as an angelic Cobra Commander, but as his character was given the most attention to detail he’s not only out of place, he disappoints in his pacifist persona despite being dressed to perform otherwise.
Overall, the game can’t even make up its mind on its presentation – towards the end the characters take up a sudden cel-shaded 3D guise and you even continue playing during this wardrobe change; enough to beg the question of whether the game could’ve been done in this fashion throughout from the start. Sadly, a number of the game’s concept art (unlocked through achievements) look more attractive than what is exhibited in-game. Even the .exe’s icon looks more appealing.
If you can get pass the highschool notebook scribble artwork, the game itself is surprisingly time consuming. The puzzles do well to test your attention to detail and makes use of combining items, handling multiple goals at once, a stealth stage, and even solving a path shifting puzzle reminiscent to the one in Heavy Rain. Whether if it’s one or more characters, DNG’s brain teasers does increase in trickiness as you progress.
While its gameplay can be appreciated, much of it isn’t anything that hasn’t already been done and it all seems to be for the sake of keeping up with the times. What we have here is an unsightly mixture of ill-measured ingredients – chemistry for anything but a strong adhesive to hold it all together. Even to the most hardcore of point-and-click fanatics, I cannot wholeheartedly recommend Da New Guys, and if we were still in the ‘90s this would remain so.