Jazu is a short, semi-interactive musical conversation where you play as a bartender confronted with two unusual (and particularly chatty) patrons.
Visually, Jazu is stunning. With slick line art and vivid colours, it presents itself as more a moving comic than a video game. The jazzy musical accompaniment compliments the game’s film noir vibe and helps to build a growing sense of dread as each patron reveals more of their history and motivations. Controls are kept two-button basic, allowing you to alternate between patrons and add your own commentary to their stories.
Being that the game is so short and it advances without your input, you may find yourself at the story’s end with no understanding of what happened and whether your actions had any influence at all. As it stands, which patron you focus on has no bearing on the game’s ending, only on how much of the story is revealed to you. In that way, it’s not so much a game as a movie broadcast between two theaters simultaneously; you’ll need to bob back and forth between the patrons to catch the full picture.
Once you’ve pieced together the chronology, the twist ending is a nice touch but may not be astonishing, especially since in order to actually understand it, you may need to playthrough the game a few times. With such simple gameplay and controls, Jazu would have really benefitted from multiple endings or some other form of player interaction (which may not of been possible under the time constraints of the jam). But as it is, Jazu fits squarely into the “neat experimental game worth trying once” genre. Lacking in gameplay, but worth visiting to experience its groovy jams and beautiful visuals.
Download or Play Jazu Online Here (Win, Mac & Browser)