If you’ve never been confused by a video game’s title, now’s your chance! With all of its punctuation and absurdity, Pro Jumper! Guilty Gear Tangent!? is easily one of the most interesting titles on the DSiWare service. As the name suggests, this is a spin-off of the Guilty Gear series of fighting games, but it strays pretty far from the franchise’s usual formula. Are a strange title and an even stranger plot enough to make this game stand out above the rest, or will it simply sink into the ever-growing DSiWare pile?
Pro Jumper! Guilty Gear Tangent!? is a pretty basic platforming game with a very high difficulty level. And, as you may have guessed, you will do a whole lot of jumping. The story revolves around Chimaki, an adorably plump little creature whose greatest desire is to visit all of the best hot springs in the world. Fully equipped with nothing but a towel, it is your job to take control of Chimaki and jump and fight your way to the springs. If a plot like that doesn’t interest you, there’s a good chance nothing will.
Each level has same formula: you fight your way through the level collecting apples as you go until you reach the end. There you will have to fight your rival, another character who is presumably interested in ruining your trip to the hot springs. Just like every other enemy in the game, the only way to defeat him is with a few strategically placed towel slaps that eventually send him reeling away. With each new level your rival will become faster and learn new attacks, so it is important to always stay sharp when facing off. While all of this may seem pretty basic, the trick is that the enemy can only touch you twice before you die, making it very important to take great care of yourself before reaching the end.
Each level contains a total of 99 apples, and by collecting more, you are allowed more lives at the start of the next area. Other items that you can be find include bottles of milk that restore your health and bars of soap that send Chimaki quickly speeding across the stage, killing every enemy in his path. That’s right, even the power-ups are silly and spa themed.
The controls are simple and straightforward enough to master pretty quickly and everything is done using the buttons rather than the touch screen. You use the D-Pad to make Chimaki move either left or right, the B button to make him jump, and the Y button to make him swing his towel or run when holding it down. Other control options are available in the menu, so it’s really up to you to find the most comfortable setup. As with all platformers, especially those with such high difficulty levels, tight and responsive manoeuvring is necessary. While the handling may seem a little slippery at times, especially when trying to jump from narrow platform to narrow platform, it all feels intentional and adds to the difficulty.
The one major problem that this game faces is that it is relatively short. With only six levels to play, you can complete it within a few hours. If you do manage to beat all six, however, then you can play through each stage again on an even more advanced difficulty. Though the levels themselves generally stay the same here, the amount of enemies increases and the amount of platforms to jump on seems to decrease. Mastering each stage is only the first step, and doing so all over again is reserved for the most committed of players.
As far as the audio and visuals go, this game is fantastic and incredibly charming in all of its absurdity. The soundtrack is robust and features a different song for each level that you play, and the graphical style fits the mood of the game flawlessly. Everything is bright and cheerful-looking, and all of the character sprites are impeccable. It is clear that much care was put into making this game sound, look, and feel exactly how it is supposed to, and it all fits together perfectly.
Despite its silly plot, bright and cheerful graphics and robust colour palette, Pro Jumper! Guilty Gear Tangent!? is not a game for the faint of heart. Though it may prove a remarkably linear platformer, its difficulty and bizarre characters and story set this title apart. This is the type of game that takes a bit of practise to master, but is incredibly rewarding once you finally get it right. If you’re a fan of platformers and are up for a bit of a challenge, then there is no reason not to get this game. It’s fun, silly, and at 500 Points, a complete steal.