Not content with keeping to motion pictures, games have begun dipping into television. And in the continuing wait for Laverne and Shirley: The RPG (non-US readers may need Google's assistance), we've got Jackass: The Game to take the edge off things. Even Lenny's stupidity can't match the mischief of a surprisingly solid assortment of mini-games, however. Jackass: The Game sets out to take the essence of the show and twist it into a series of playable pranks. In this goal it succeeds, even if its immaturity prevents it from being widely recommendable.
Your task as director of a new season of the now defunct television programme requires taping seven episodes packed with sophomoric stunts. The idiocy that made the TV series so popular has been lovingly instilled into the game, manifested in five pain-inducing stunts per episode. Whether it's using an umbrella to shield yourself from faeces in Poo Shower, or racing refrigerators down the side of a snow slope, or just dancing like a fool with a bikini on, there's no question the game captures the jackassadry of the show.
Objectives guide your performance in each stunt. Golf Wars, for example, has you zipping around a prestigious golf course on a cart – collecting flags and disabling your compadres by ramming them with your vehicle top the list of goals. Another stunt, called Snow Job, rolls you up into a massive snowball that you guide down a mountain with the aim of rolling up snowmobiles and snowboarders, destroying lodges, and reaching a set diameter.
There's actually a decent amount of variety in the challenges to ensure that you're not performing the same banal objectives over and over again.
You're only required to complete a majority of the goals to move on (usually three out of a possible five), while other stunts may involve accumulating a high score – Egg Gulp, for instance, sees Weeman filling up buckets with vomit induced by cramming eggs down his throat. In such cases, simply reach the bronze score goal and you're set to proceed.
Nailing three objectives never is a problem, although getting all five (or achieving gold where appropriate) often poses a considerable challenge. A few difficult mini-games are peppered throughout, and thankfully so, as they provide a much needed kick to Jackass.
Of course, mini-games only go so far before the novelty wears thin. Jackass doesn't aim for a particularly deep experience, but the short length of its Story mode is a concern. A Challenge option that remixes the stunts with harder objectives offers some rescue, even if it isn't actual new content. Still, rewards doled out when achieving stunts in Challenge mode provide a small incentive, ranging from image galleries to costumes for your jackasses.
Fortunately, additional stunts are available directly from the developer via download, which is a great means of augmenting a rather small amount of gameplay. The best part is that it's free, so there's no reason not to go online grab a couple extra stunts – and you'll want to.
Multiplayer and content sharing also go some way to extend the experience. Stunts are playable for up to four in ad-hoc mode or a pair via infrastructure, and just like the Story mode, the game enables you to choose between playing a single stunt or an entire episode. The unpredictability of competing against others is the only thing that differentiates multiplayer from tackling stunts solo, though, as there aren't any special stunts or modes exclusive to it.
Adding a little extra layer to the mix is the fact that stunt replays can be shared with other players directly in ad-hoc mode or uploaded to the game's dedicated online server. Using a straightforward editor, it's possible to cut replays to your liking and even compile multiple stunt replays into a makeshift episode. Uploaded individual replays and episodes can then be downloaded by others, as well as rated on a five-star scale. You're free to rate others' videos, too.
Finally, the fact the game looks great is also of some benefit. Indeed, Jackass: The Game boasts top-notch production values – the voice acting comes courtesy of the real personas, music is licensed, and motion capture was performed at Weta Digital (of TLOTR fame).
For the odd, occasional quick play, then, Jackass is decent stuff. The mini-game format works perfectly for the portable platform and there's just enough depth to the content to prevent it from feeling completely shallow. If you dig the show, you'll find a lot to like in here. Outside of college dudes, however, we suspect Jackass probably holds about as much appeal as a donkey's behind.