Jazz: Trump’s Journey has found its way into the featured section of Google Play following on a successful launch in the spring. The platformer game puts players in New Orleans around the birth of jazz, following a musician who’s chasing after love. Besides having a sincere and well-written story based on the early life of Louis Armstrong, Jazz: Trump’s Journey has a whimsical cut-out art style and classic soundtrack that suit the setting to a tee.
The platforming action itself is equally polished, and has a variety of deep gameplay elements, including hidden items, wall-jumping, and freezing time with jazzy trumpet solos.
Graphics and audio
Jazz: Trump’s Journey looks absolutely great. The occasional cutscene is framed as a silent movie, complete with coarse film grain filter. There’s still plenty of color, though - the full-screen effect when Trump plays his trumpet is very cool, and all of the character animations are full of life.
There are some interesting things the developer has done with user interfaces, too. Though the controls are basically a d-pad overlay, all of the action has been scaled nicely to make sure nothing important is covered during gameplay. The “menu” screen is actually Trump on stage, and you climb up into the rafters in order to fiddle with settings, or go off-stage to pick gameplay. Even the credits section is something Trump runs through.
As you might expect from a game based on Louis Armstrong, the soundtrack is phenomenal: jazzy and upbeat, but not too busy or distracting from the core platforming action.
Gameplay and controls
Jazz: Trump’s Journey is at its core a clever platforming game. Players jump between moving platforms, leap off walls, and push crates with the singular goal of getting to the end. Levels are littered with notes, which are effectively coins, and photographs; if you collect all the photos, then you unlock an extra bit of storyline at the end of a level. Those photographs offer a significant amount of replay value for those that are obsessed with getting 100% on every stage, but even for more casual gamers, there are a total of 13 lengthy chapters to enjoy, which is more than enough for most folks.
My biggest complaint about the game is that its hard saves are only at the beginning of each level, not at the waypoints peppered throughout each stage. That means if you leave the app for a few minutes and it has to start up again when you switch back, you have to start again from the beginning. This naturally pushes players into longer sessions, which is only a bad thing if you’re looking for something more casual to play
- Characterful art style
- Polished, challenging platforming gameplay
- Checkpoints don’t save progress after app close
Jazz: Trump’s Journey hits a lot of great points: gripping platform action, charming art style, and a strong story. Even though the app description says there’s only 3 hours of gameplay, I bet you could squeeze a lot more out of it than that after hunting around for all of the photographs. Once that’s done, I can’t imagine there being much replay value, but at that point you’ve probably got your buck’s-worth of fun.
The first two levels are free, so there’s really no reason not to give it a try. Until August 3, they’re offering the rest of the game for $0.99, after which it goes back up to $2.99. Get it before the deal’s up!