There’s a cool kind of funk to Jazu.
It could be the colors, like a neon Sin City, vibrant and bold with an uncanny style. Or the music, which builds itself like the Japanese show Kids on the Slope, with themes for each character and shift in mood. It feels like the kind of game that would sit with you in a dark, red-lit dive bar smoking a long cigarette. It’s that kind of cool.
The game presents itself as a musical conversation between a bartender and two of his unusual patrons. They are each represented by a color and a unique theme. The game is highly musical, and most of the mood and feel comes from those moments of auditory accompaniment. Controls are simple — conversation is dictated by when you press the enter key and you switch between the two patrons by pressing the spacebar. This simplistic control scheme contributes to a easy listening and playing experience. This is obviously not a game about slamming your hands down on the controls or lightning reflexes.
Perhaps one of the failings of Jazu is that I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on in the conversations. The characters emoted and images flashed along the edges, but it was like catching the edge of a conversation in a crowded room. This could be a strength, if you consider the possibility for interpretation a combination of music, image, and player involvement. This is not to say that the game lacks a story. There was, at least in my play through, a very clear ending. It brings to mind the sensation of watching a silent film, where interpretation is ranked higher than what is actually being said.
The game is relatively short, playable in under 5 minutes if you’re so inclined. If you wanted to, it does seem like the kind of game that you could amble through slowly. It was made for the Space Cowboy Jam, and that perhaps contributes to its brevity. But in that sense it doesn’t overstay its welcome. This isn’t necessarily the kind of game you want to play for several hours.