Running on Logs With Axes
Think of the manliest activity humanly possible. Sure, riding on the back of a rocket-propelled shark while firing a Gatling gun is pretty manly, but let’s be realistic. Let’s say wood cutting…yeah, that’s pretty manly. How about axe throwing, and running on logs. Now we’re getting closer. How about a game of Pong where two opponents run on floating logs while playing catch with a fast-moving axe. Well, that doesn’t just sound manly, that sounds crazy. That sounds like Log Jammers.
Mega Cat Studios has created a monster of a game that takes both the nostalgia and tradition of slasher-horror flicks and bundles them together. This mix is called Log Jammers, and it is a fast-paced title that screenshots do little justice to. The developer was kind enough to give me a beta version of the game before its release in February of next year. After throwing axes and murdering zombie cheerleaders for about five hours, I think I can provide a pretty good rundown of this very unique game.
When the Zombie Apocolypse Gets Wierd
I usually start my reviews with an abridged version of the story that is taking place in the game. Unfortunately, I have no idea what is happening here. From what I can gather from the characters, the action in the title takes place in post-apocalyptic town called Bateman Hills, where the zombies and humans are now at a place where they compete in high-stakes murder games with each other. Such games include a tournament in which the competitors run on floating logs while attempting to block axes that are being thrown into a goal behind them. This is known as the Log Jammers Tournament. Right?! You can’t make this stuff up!
The tournament has brought in an entire host of odd and colorful characters. Such axe throwing aces includes the zombie killing lumberjack named Zombie Jack, who is hunted by his arch-nemesis, Zombear, who also competes. Another contender is the grotesque Mayo Monsson, who is a zombified mayonnaise factory worker that died after falling into a vat of his very own product. There are eight playable characters and each has their own strengths and weaknesses, including special attacks unique to their personalities.
Pong With Hatchets
The gameplay is incredibly simple to understand, and nearly impossible to master. The game itself is very similar to Pong in that each opponent must block the ball/ axe from getting by them. In this game, however, the axe is caught instead of being instantly deflected. That gives players an opportunity to set up their shots against their opponents.
The scoring system varies depending on the mode. In the Original game setting, the players just have to get the axe to hit the opposite goal and can earn 2 to 5 points each time depending on where the axe strikes. Players must earn over 10 points per round, and the best of 3 out of 5 rounds wins. The Cheerleader mode places cheerleaders in front of the goal. The players must first knock out the cheerleaders in front of the goal in order to expose it for a score.
On top of that, there are power-ups available to the players. The power-up icons will move across the center line after each match and the first player to claim them will be able to use them for a short amount of time. Such enhancements like faster movement speed and a magnetic pull of the axe are available. Each character’s special move is activated when they touch a star icon that comes down the line much as the power-ups do.
A Blast to the Past
The most endearing feature of this game is its graphics. The pixel art is reminiscent of such legendary titles like Zombies Ate My Neighbors and Smash TV. In fact, the developers have even created a classic NES version of this game for any truly retro fans. With that said, this game oozes 80’s and 90’s nostalgia in the best ways. The title screen reflects an 80’s vector vibe while the bit-chip soundtrack takes the player back to a bygone era of repetitive, yet catchy in-game music.
Putting the Ax to the Grinder
Log Jammers may very well be one of the most creative titles that I have ever played, however, that does not save it from having some major issues. For one, at best the game mechanics are buggy, and at worst it makes the gameplay unbearable. When throwing an axe, the projectile can really pick up some speed. When that happens I have noticed that the “hitbox” for catching the axe becomes impossible to negotiate. It doesn’t matter what the frame rate on your PC is, that axe will disappear after a while and you will have to guess where the object is going to be on the playing field.
Another problem that this game has is the size of the content. Honestly, there is not much that this game offers apart from a tournament and quick play mode, as well as online and local play. I tried testing the online play, but of course, no one else it playing this game yet, so I just played against the AI. The AI itself is not too challenging to defeat on any of the modes once you figure out how to deflect shots off the walls. With the goals having both 2 point and 5 point markers, it is easy to get to the end of a round quickly without breaking much of a sweat. That lack of AI challenge will turn many players off to this title.
A Work in Progress
I usually like to give the games I review an actual score, but since Mega Cat Studios is still working on Log Jammers, I will forgo scoring this title. Honestly, at this point, I would only give Log Jammers a 6 out 10 because of its lack of content and repetitive gameplay. The idea is very creative and has quite a bit of potential, but lacks the variety within the content to make this game more than just a “play once and forget in the Steam library” title.
Log Jammers will be officially released for PS4, Xbox One, the Switch, and Steam in February of next year. They are currently running their Kickstarter campaign and would love to have some extra donations come their way to help with development. You can find out more by clicking this link. Are you looking forward to this title? Let us know in the comments below.