By Marty Mulrooney
Da New Guys: Day of the Jackass is a retro-styled point-and-click adventure game created by UK-based independent developer Chris Burton in collaboration with Wadjet Eye Games. Drawing inspiration from classic LucasArts graphic adventures and Saturday morning cartoons, the player takes control of Brain, Defender and Simon, three professional wrestlers caught up in a complex plot that will test their brains, as well as their brawn, to the absolute limit.
Da New Guys: Day of the Jackass begins with Brain, the most clueless member of the trio, accidentally winning the Wrestle Zone’s title belt. Yet his unforeseen victory is only momentary. Shortly after the event he is kidnapped by an unseen rival, prompting Defender and Simon to reluctantly embark on a mission to rescue him. Thus begins an adventure game that, although by no means revolutionary, is an enjoyable throwback to the point-and-click adventure games of the 90s.
Comparisons to LucasArts are apt. Da New Guys often mimics the sharply humorous characterisations and writing that became synonymous with the iconic studio during its glory years. The game’s central trio of heroes are all uniquely identifiable yet starkly different. To have three wildly contrasting characters compliment each other so well is no mean feat – creator Chris Burton should be commended for dreaming up such an off-the-wall premise that actually works.
Indeed, the entire game succeeds because of the quirky world shown and the personalities that inhabit it. Although the player controls all three main characters, the most time is spent with Defender – and rightly so. The world of wrestling is portrayed as one that continues to strike outside the ring. Who better to navigate through this world than a man who wears his trademark visor 24/7, calls everyone “my friend” and avoids confrontation wherever possible? Simon is a grumpy badass and Brain’s stupidity knows no bounds, but it is the hugely likable Defender who holds the entire ‘Da New Guys’ universe – and the game – together.
Which is just as well, as the story and gameplay mechanics offer nothing particularly new. The comedic storyline has some enjoyable twists and turns, but the plot is more of an excuse to have fetch quests and puzzles galore – not that there is anything wrong with that. The puzzles themselves are a whole lot of fun too, although they aren’t particularly taxing. Creator Chris Burton has described Da New Guys as ‘the Saturday morning cartoon that never was’ and it often plays that way, with bright graphics, accommodating puzzles and huge set pieces. Again, focusing on these aspects isn’t a criticism at all. Da New Guys was always going to be a love-it-or-hate-it experience – when a literally two-dimensional character named Ice Cold shuffles onto the screen, you’ll either simply go with it and laugh, or miss the joke entirely.
Da New Guys doesn’t reinvent the wheel then, but it does keep it spinning along nicely. It’s an unashamedly loud and proud adventure game the like of which hasn’t been seen within the genre for a very long time. It’s nice to find a point-and-click adventure game that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It isn’t particularly deep, but it’s certainly memorable – indie adventure games seem to be going from strength to strength. Chock-full of quality comedic writing and voiced by talented actors, it manages to evoke plenty of well-deserved belly laughs. It may not be a knock-out, but Da New Guys is still a winner that can hold its head high.
8 OUT OF 10