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Four years. Was it worth it? Hell yes. It is GLORIOUS and I. FUCKING. LOVE IT.

  • Frogge
  • 08/16/2018 03:06 AM
  • 1809 views

Jimmy and the Pulsting Mass by Housekeeping (aka Kasey Ozymy)
Length: ~30 hours


I think I first came across Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass back when the demo wasn't even out. At the time all I remember from it was a few images of the giant garden and that one spider boss. It seemed interesting enough for me to keep an eye out for it, but I did not actually think I would get to see it finished. Many progress screenshots later, I began to get more hyped for the game, and the final blow that made me excited as fuck for it was when I saw a review for it on youtube that pretty much sold it for me.

After four long years, Jimmy finally got finished and I was determined to buy it on the first day it came out and play and finish it and review it as soon as I could. I couldn't end up buying it on the first day, sadly, but I did hold my promise when it came to how I was going to sit down and finish the entire 30+ hour thing and not do anything else until I did.

So, this game pretty much ruined my already in shambles sleep schedule and it distracted me from so many other things I could have been doing in the 5-7 days I spent on finishing it. And let me tell you - all of it was worth it.


Wait a minute... is this Shrek?


It's hard to know what to begin with when I'm reviewing Jimmy. Except not really. Starting off, the visuals as usual!

The game has a very earthbound-y aesthetic to it as many have probably already noticed. However, Jimmy's aesthetic also looks a lot more different at the same time. It's much more blocky and simplistic, giving it a charm of its own. Everything in the game is simply a joy to look at. You'll find yourself in a variety of locations ranging from a musical town, a very anime city, a pixel world, stuff that nightmares are made of, you know, all the good stuff. Every location feels unique and I was even surprised by how much there is to look at. Considering Kasey did the graphics mostly, if not fully on his own from what I understand, the amount of different tiles and areas each with their unique look is simply amazing.

And the animations too! Oh man, the way Helga runs to Andrew and it transitions perfectly to them kissing or the way the flowers spurt pollens on you in the central stamen to just the little dance the frog does, everything feels so well polished and every cutscene plays out so cinematically.

Not just that but the game's also got some kickass battle animations that look straight out of a comic book. The visual cue given by these made battles a ton easier to follow and those strong blows all the more satisfying to land.


We going the Enigma of Amigara Fault up in here.


And the soundtrack? Jimmy and the Pulsating has to have one of the, if not THE best soundtrack I've ever seen in an rpg maker game. The intro kicks of amazingly with upbeat songs that are going to give you that excitement of getting to explore a new world. You'll find a lot to love here from the epic battle themes like Gut Punch to the emotional blast of Rainy Sunday or Samurai Children. Dragon Slayer is a great retro song that gave me a rush, Counting Backwards from Infinity has a monotone voice in the background counting a bunch of random numbers, adding to the creepiness of that area, and Osaka Konnichiwa does something similar in a much more lighthearted way with the lady in the background speaking in japanese, truly making you feel like you're in some asian city.
And Knuckle Sandwich and Ladyfingers, Punch Tanaka's theme song has is catchy as FUCK. I fell in love with it from the first time I heard it and got excited every time I heard it from that point onwards.


IS THIS LOSS?


The worldbuilding itself is something I have to praise. The world of Jimmy simply feels so alive and connected. You'll be seeing a lot of the game's NPCs many times throughout the game. There's a TON of optional content here with hidden areas, bosses or treasures to find. You'll run into at least one or two hidden level in nearly every major area. There's also these light bulbs the game has you hunting for, and even those all add up to unlock a brand new area for you (which I've yet to enter).

The character designs range from silly to straight up scary. You'll run into a ton of different species throughout the game, and even they all look different! You've got the goons, who all basically have green hair and leather jackets that make them recognizeable, but you can tell them apart from small details like one wearing glasses or a different type of clothing. The cute little details here and there like the captain dude having a fishbowl for a hat or the microphone ladies that sing at the bar really make them extremely memorable and you seriously end up falling in love with this world. Even just the color palettes really make both the tiles and characters really stand out as everything feels like a soft color that's easy on the eyes and nice to look at.

The only thing I wasn't particularly fond of when it came to visuals were the battlers. There's a whole bunch that look great, but I just didn't think most of them were really up to part with the rest of the sprites. For example, the great white shark, pretty much anything in everchip or Mr Cat's Lair, that frog mascot thing at Tetsuya Kawaii, the vending machines et cetera all looked really good, while some others such as the treeman in the four seasons forest, the vampire, the goons or the super rad ghost did not look quite as much.

The production value here is absolutely sky high. The game's graphics are very nice to look and and the soundtrack is a jolly good time to listen to. Literally the only thing of issue I had here, like I said, was that a few battlers did not look particularly good (and maybe that the kinda comic-y font sort of clashed with the pixel style and was also kind of hard to read) but otherwise Jimmy absolutely nails it when it comes to its presentation.


Seriously. Shake everyone you find. You're gonna miss out on a lot otherwise.


Sadly, there's a few minor things to criticize when it comes to other aspects of the game.

The dialogue, worldbuilding, characters and humour are all very strong aspects of the game. It's extremely well written. As I've already mentioned, I fell in love with every character I've met. You'll be seeing a lot of fun shnenigans in the story from a murder mystery (at which point there's also a love affair between a trombone and a microphone, so bonus points for that) or your uncle getting kidnapped by a dragon or my personal favorite, Kasey constantly killing his self-inserty character, the information guy (though there's a lot more to it revealed later on, but still mostly played for laughs) in increasingly ridiculous ways.

But if we're really looking into it, one of the huge strong points of the story is the theme of family. Jimmy's family is the main driving plot of the game as they keep getting seperated and trying to stay alive and survive in a pretty dangerous world. There's a real bond between these characters that is really emotional and loveable. You can seriously feel how much they love each other. And since we're on the topic, Lars is so fucking relatable like you have no fucking idea. He's hands down one of the funniest and most likeable characters I've ever seen in any rpg ever.

The comedy is extremely well done too. A lot of things put a smile on my face and occasionally even made my giggle to myself. The scene that made me laugh the most was one at the cinema near the end of the game where Buck and Jimmy are watching a scary movie together where spiders disguise themselves as humans. Buck tells Jimmy that the spiders actually got him too and it's only a matter of time until he murders their family. After a slight pause, Jimmy kinda turns around to look at him, his face just completely neutral as usual, and something about the timing and delivery of it just got me so good.

You'll be finding a lot to enjoy in the small details here and there too, like how Jimmy always gets the ''afraid'' status which prevents him from doing anything for a turn whenever he sees women in bikinis at the beach or how stealing Johhny Knives' knives in battle gives him this really sad look that's used as a running joke throughout the game every time you battle him.


I KNEW PRECISELY WHAT WAS COMING WHEN I STOLE HIS TENTACLES AND I HAD TO DIE THREE TIMES TO SEE IT. COMPLETELY WORTH IT.


Sadly, not all is perfect in the narrative of Jimmy. While the sum of its parts really make the writing stand out, the base story is what I had mixed feelings about. I'm gonna have to delve into spoiler territory with this one to explain.

PLOT/ENDING SPOILERS FOLLOW
Basically, you start the game off on this cliffside with Helga waking you. Everything seems normal at first until you walk to the next map and you're suddenly walking on clouds. Very strange, I think to myself. As you go out into the world you'll immediately notice that everyone seems to know you and some of them even blame you for the weird stuff happening all over the world. Moreover, the pulsating mass, the game's titular villian, seems to be sending out monsters everywhere to destroy you.

I was seriously hoping to learn the backstory behind all of it. I figured the world of Jimmy was perhaps a distant alien planet where creatures from all sorts of different planets were kept, or maybe that there was some sort of apocalypse where people ended up getting turned into said creatures and that it was actually Jimmy's fault for, I dunno, sneaking into a radioactive waste factory or something.

That is sadly not at all the case. Jimmy has cancer. The entire game is his dying dream. It's pretty obvious that the pulsating mass is basically cancer and it's trying to take Jimmy. Though, that being said, even if you do end up beating him at the end, you'll still die. Well, to be fair, you can also just stay in the dream world for all eternity and basically just be in a coma for the rest of your life.

Now what I CAN praise here is the delivery of it. The ending is pretty anticlimactic with how Jimmy just finds the secret knowledge book and reads it which defeats the villian and everyone is happy again hooray yaba daba doo. The credits roll and then you find yourself in Jimmy's house once again. Upon leaving the house is when you'll REALLY witness the ending.

Now this one actually hits you pretty well. You'll find yourself in a scribbly version of the house's exterior as you walk back to the cliff where you began the game, and you'll get this kick ass animation with Jimmy muttering his last words, ''I'm sorry'', before he flatlines. And then the game's title pops up in this very scribbly and kind of very emotional way. And man, I could really feel the sadness in this ending. While you never really see Jimmy's family's reaction to his death, you can feel the pain they're going through. You really see this family's bond all throughout the game and understand just how much they all love Jimmy and then they lose him.

It's a story that's been done to death, but Kasey still wrote it so well that I at least found it passable. I would have still much more enjoyed a story about an apocalypse or some alien planet or something, but I love the game's dialogue more than enough to make up for it.



Suddenly, Yume Nikki.


Now to move on to the gameplay, the other part of the game I had mixed feelings about. Kasey has acknowledged that he was scared my problem about this would precisely be what drove people off, and that problem is none of other than the game's difficulty.

Seriously.

This game is hard. As. Balls.

Now I really am not sure if I just really sucked or if I was underleveled or something, but I could NOT beat 80% of the bosses in this game. I had to cheat for the majority of them, lowering their HP or attack or something.

They don't just have moves that can one shot a party member, some of them can literally just one shot your entire party in one attack.

GAMM-E could one shot my entire party with her rockets, though she is one of the few bosses I beat fair and square (and the most fun, actually!). I managed to get Buck on Tetsuya Kawaii's rooftop to about 10% HP before he brought out the big guns and one shotted my entire party. Those fucking bats you had to deal with when you fought Principal Pulsating Mass or Buck for the second time were a literal pain in the ass as I could not damage the fuckers at all and they made the near boss invincible. These are just a few of the instances I can think of where I got completely screwed over by the game's bosses.


They're gonna wreck you. To the fucking GROUND. The bosses in this game are a literal nightmare and occasionally even the enemies can be too much with how you can only go for about three troops before you have to stop to go back and heal. (Unless you have Helga in the party and a bunch of choco-colas to restore her MP, she does pretty well as an outside battle healer).

By the way, items get more expensive over time and you're gonna want to wait until either the end game or post game to fight most optional bosses because otherwise you literally stand no chance.

Do take this with a grain of salt because I don't think it's very unlikely at all that I just didn't suck (also I didn't realize the imagination menu was there until like much later into the game and also didn't use many status moves at all other than poison).


Three times, Tanaka! Three times!



Now it's not all bad down there in gameplay town. The empathy ability is really fun to use and the different forms are all really cool. Every time you get a new form you're gonna get some amazing new skills too. The bear has to be the one I used most. I used to use the blob a lot for his poison, but I kinda stopped using him at all when I got Andrew since he had a much more powerful poison move. The pumpkin was good for taking out enemies that had low magic defence and the flower occasionally came in handy when Helga died in battle, I had no alarm clocks left and I needed to revive or heal someone. I never really found myself using the bird, even though I've since seen people mention that it is extremely useful at the end game if you assign its moves to other forms. I kinda just always had rampage and called shot on there so I could deal 2000+ damage to bosses so I'm not really sure. Maybe I would have done much better if I put some of its moves on there but knowing me I'd still go for the moves that dealt a lot of damage.

Of course, I highly doubt the bosses are actually impossible despite how much they felt like it at times and I'm sure most players will just find them a big challenge but not mind. Me, personally, I was getting tired of constantly dying to bosses and I just wanted to progress and see more of the story and stuff so like I said, I did just cheat with the majority of them (no offense Kasey, I'm sure you spent a lot of time balancing them out and I'm sorry about it, I'm just not very fond of battles in RPGs. Yes, I know that's super ironic, don't @ me. ''Why are you playing RPGs if you don't like the main thing about them?'' SHUSH. I ENJOY THE EXPLORATION AND STORIES.) but still found a couple here and there that I enjoyed fighting because the fights felt a lot more fair. Like the Whisper Weaper, that's one of the few bosses I could actually beat on my own and it gave me a challenge but it definetly did not make me think I was doing horribly or that I needed to go grind (I said ''I need to go grind'' way too many times but always ended up being too lazy to do it). The variety in all the different enemies and skills and statuses is also something to praise here. You can really build your party to your liking (in my case, Jimmy was the strong physical attacker, Helga was the healer and also the attacker if no one needed healing, Andrew was the magic attacker and Lars was the tank, which I'm fairly sure is how they're intended to be, but you can really switch that around with the correct equipment and skillset) and you even have a super cool clubhouse that you can decorate with each furniture increasing your stats, alongside completed sets of furnitures doing the same thing. I've always liked having my own place to decorate in pretty much any game (for comparison, one of my favorite games that lets you decorate your home has to be Kirby's Epic Yarn) and the complete set thing adding extra bonus stat increases kinda really brought back memories of Terraria. (I KNOW, TOO MANY COMPARISONS)


Wait, is this LIS- okay, sorry, I know I'm comparing the game to way too many things.


I also particularly enjoyed the dungeon design and I wanted to point that out. As I already said, there's a ton here to explore. You might stumble into a cave in a dungeon that leads to a completely different dungeon entirely or just find a really clever spot that has you trying to figure out which ability to use to unlock a secret. The game isn't puzzle heavy, but there's a few seriously awesome ones here and there like the ones in the temple of sight or the one on Andrew's planet after escaping the central hub with burning the wax towers (I nearly cried myself trying to solve it but still liked it!)


Oh come on, man, I literally just finished my GSCEs this year and you're gonna make me go through a spin off of them? ;.;


Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass is a seriously well made game. There are times when you'll even run into things that you probably had no idea were possible to make in rpg maker, like that one ball throwing game at the arcade or the dark dungeon (I'm gonna mimic what Unity said in her review here and ask, HOW THE FUCK, KASEY? HOW THE FUCK DOES ONE PULL THIS OFF IN RPG MAKER?), the graphics look near professional, the soundtrack is DEFINETLY professional, the writing is great and the gameplay, while extremely challenging, can also be quite fun.

Logically, due to my issues with the story and how much I struggled with most boss battles (an easy mode for players like me would have been really good) I should probably give the game a 4 or 4.5, but I'm gonna give it a 5 anyway. Why? SCREW YOU, THAT'S WHY!


I mean, yeah, sure, it has a few things I really wasn't fond of, but the game is still outstanding.


Thing is, even though Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass has occasional things I don't like here and there, it's still one of the best games I've played in a long time and the goods well outweight the bads. So far this game is my definite pick for game of the year, and if you've got the money and the time to spare, do NOT pass up on it.

Jimmy and the Pulsating is going to make you laugh, get scared, feel emotional and provide an epic adventure through a beautiful world all at the same time.

I give Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass a shining five buff ass Jim Carrys out of five and look forward to Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass 2. And a Very Jimmy Christmas. And Jimmy: Expansion DLC. And Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass TV Series. And official videogame adaptation. And Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass 3. And then the spin off Lars and the Pulsating Mass. GIVE US MORE JIMMY HOUSEKEEPING. Jk dude best of luck on your future projects though I'm super excited to see what you come up with next!!


~~Perfection~~




Oh and also here's my fanart of Buck and Lars while we're at it.


Posts

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unity
You're magical to me.
12135
:DDDDD Very nice review, Frogge! And yay! An Enigma of Amigara Fault reference!
Frogge
I wanna marry ALL the boys!! And Donna is a meanc
15878
Thanks Uni, glad you like it! :D
This was great, Frogge! Yeah, battles--they're tough, man. It's hard to balance players feeling rewarded from their skill and planning and the inevitability of players getting frustrated with a difficult battle, so I'm willing to take my lumps on that one. At the end of the day, I'm just happy that you enjoyed this. Seeing people enjoy a game I've worked this long on is like opium for me after working so long essentially in a vacuum. Thanks so much for this review, and thanks for the cute fan art depicting the last five seconds of Lars's life!

Oh, and your use of Super Yesmen as a rating system should revolutionize how ratings are given on this website.
Frogge
I wanna marry ALL the boys!! And Donna is a meanc
15878
author=Housekeeping
This was great, Frogge!


WOOH! Thanks man, I'm proud to hear you say that :D

author=Housekeeping
Yeah, battles--they're tough, man. It's hard to balance players feeling rewarded from their skill and planning and the inevitability of players getting frustrated with a difficult battle, so I'm willing to take my lumps on that one.


Yeah, no worries, it definetly appears that most people didn't have as much trouble as I did and I'm okay with admitting that I kinda sucked anyway. Like I said, it definetly does not ruin the game in any way.

author=Housekeeping
At the end of the day, I'm just happy that you enjoyed this. Seeing people enjoy a game I've worked this long on is like opium for me after working so long essentially in a vacuum.


I totally getcha dude. You deserve all the love you're getting for the game and for the amount of effort you put into it and I truly wish Jimmy can make it into the mainstream, or at least get the popularity it deserves.

author=Housekeeping
Thanks so much for this review, and thanks for the cute fan art depicting the last five seconds of Lars's life!


Hah, it's fine, Lars is good at taking hits, he'll survive. I'm more worried that Buck is gonna wreck their house down.

author=Housekeeping
Oh, and your use of Super Yesmen as a rating system should revolutionize how ratings are given on this website.


yes
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