Welcome to EXPlay, (Explain & Play) the review series where we care not for scores but tell it how it is when it comes to every game we get our hands on, whilst also taking the time to include some lengthy gameplay, to give you the reader, the chance to shape your own impressions and views whilst watching and reading.
In this explanatory review, we’re covering It’s A Wrap! by joint developer Chanko Studios:
Its A Wrap! (The Explanation)
It’s a Wrap! is a delightful and challenging 2D puzzle platformer that transports players back to the glitz and chaos of 1980s Hollywood. Combining the roles of director and star in action-packed, low-budget films, this game offers a unique and entertaining experience that balances nostalgia with innovative gameplay. At the start of the game, I went through the tutorial stage which teaches you the basic means of traversing the world by moving left to right, jumping and double jumping, and rolling through obstacles, and more.
Each level consists of moving from one end of the movie set piece to the other to the golden flag. Within each level, you will have a script that outlines the set the actor Johnny is on and the basic premise for the part he plays as the stuntman. Your objective is to get through each stage without dying and in as few takes for each scene.
What makes It’s a Wrap! unique is how you must first utilize the timeline like a movie director and align the various stage pieces. This could be the movement of a raft or boulder, marking the start and end of platforms that rise and fall into lava, swinging platforms, and more. Within the timeline, you can scrub through the time seeing how the objects will play out within the scene’s timing. Then when you feel you are ready you can hit Y to call action.
The game seamlessly integrates two distinct phases—the Director’s Phase and the Action Phase. In the Director’s Phase, you wield a megaphone and take charge of synchronizing actors and props, a task that adds a refreshing puzzle element to the traditional platformer genre. This phase demands strategy and quick thinking, making it a satisfying challenge. Once the scene is set, the transition to the Action Phase is smooth, offering a variety of 2D gameplay experiences, including platforming, car chases, and space battles. Controlling the iconic movie star Johnny Rush in his various roles provides a dynamic and engaging gaming experience.
It’s a Wrap! doesn’t shy away from humor, delivering a hundred colorful ways for poor Johnny to meet his demise, all inspired by classic cartoons and adventure games. The absence of a stunt double adds an extra layer of challenge and amusement. The game embraces failure with a lighthearted approach, allowing players to rewind and try again without the frustration of long-lasting injuries. The comical deaths contribute to the overall charm, making each failure a source of laughter.
One of the standout features is the game’s heaping spoonfuls of nostalgia. Each level is a love letter to the biggest blockbusters of the 80s, with unique genres and aesthetics inspired by iconic movies. Spotting references to beloved fictional professors, space wizards, and renegade soldiers on the run adds an extra layer of enjoyment for fans of the era. The attention to detail in capturing the essence of 1980s Hollywood is commendable and adds a rich layer to the overall gaming experience.
The art style captures the essence of classic 2D platformers, and the visuals are complemented by a retro-inspired soundtrack that enhances the nostalgic atmosphere. While the graphics are charming, there are moments where additional visual polish could elevate the overall presentation. Johnny has an animation style that reminds me of old Flash animation you might have found on the early 2000s Internet. There are subtle movements and idle animations that add a flair of character and silliness while also giving weight to the animated set pieces.
It’s a Wrap! successfully marries challenging gameplay with a generous dose of nostalgia, creating an enjoyable experience for both fans of classic films and gamers seeking a unique blend of genres. With its clever mechanics, humorous deaths, and a trip down memory lane, this game stands out as a commendable addition to the puzzle platformer genre. It’s a Wrap! is sure to engross even the most casual of platform and puzzle fans as it combines both in a way that I haven’t seen before.
Its A Wrap! (The Gameplay)
Developer: Chanko Studios
Publisher: AMC Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Puzzle, Action
No. of Players: 1 (Single System)
Release Date: NA|EU: August 31, 2023
File Size: 718 MB