Video game adaptations of Hollywood movies have a sketchy track record as haphazardly-assembled money-makers offering the bare minimum in terms of game play and art-style. Going by a new game play trailer released yesterday, developer Outright Games’ is seemingly following in that unflattering tradition with upcoming Jumanji: The Video Game.
Sitting through what is supposed to be an expository and enticing fifty-odd second teaser, it’s immediately apparent that Jumanji: The Video Game looks nothing short of Fortnite in the jungle with lazily-rendered virtual incarnations of Jack Black and The Rock. Not exactly the most promising formula.
Visually, the similarities to Epic Games’ battle royale shooter are at best an uneasy homage, and at worst a blatant rip-off to tap into Fortnite’s persistent popularity and draw in younger players.
The overly-bulky character models, neon palette, near-identical foliage assets, and cartoon-like environments may have something to do with both titles using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, but then again countless developers use the engine to craft distinctly different aesthetics. The parallels can’t, therefore, be put down merely to coincidence.
Then there’s the quality of the graphics and animations that would be more at home in the PlayStation 2 era or a mobile game rather than a fully-fledged eighth-generation console release.
When scrutinizing the gameplay on show, it’s once again hard to detach Jumanji: The Video Game from the Fortnite association. The pseudo-tower defense co-op loop fighting off waves of marauding enemies harks to Fortnite’s oft-forgotten paid-for sibling PvE shooter Fortnite: Save the World.
The new trailer does well to lower our expectations to absolute zero in anticipation of Jumanji: The Video Game’s release on Nov. 8, which incidentally is when, Death Stranding, launches.
Launching on the same day as possibly the most anticipated game of the year pretty much guarantees Jumanji: The Video Game a swift descent into irrelevance. Not all that surprising for a game that no one in the gaming community asked for in the first place.