His name is Jack. His innocent, defenseless grandma was killed (smashed) by a tree. What that sinister amassment of wood didn't know is that he wasn't crushing just anyone's granny.
Introducing Jack Lumber, a lumberjack with a kind heart for family and a brutal axe for slicing and dicing anything that resembles a log. Why does he do it? Well, to avenge his grandma, of course!
Developer - Owlchemy Labs
Genre - Indie, Casual
Languages - English
Modes - Main storyline, "Chop 'til you drop"
Playtime - Approximately 2 hours to beat
Honestly, like most other people, I was scared it was going to be another fruit ninja clone. As I launched the game, it may even have seemed like just that. However, starting the first level, I realized that Jack Lumber
was far from this.
The premise of the game is very simple. As a level starts, logs of various shapes, sizes, and properties fly onto the screen. Between the time in which they appear and when they fall back out of vision, it is the responsibility of the
lumberjack to freeze time (hold left-click). This allows you to deftly move your mouse around in a slicing pattern to cut through the base of each trunk in slow motion.
There are several other factors that influence gameplay. The most prominent is that there actually is a time limit for each level. Cutting each log onscreen perfectly will grant you an extra addition to your round score based on how much time was left. Your score is based on each log you cut and how lumber-like your cutting skills are. For example, slicing two logs in one straight slice will add an extra +25 to your score.
Every time you complete a full level, you return to your cabin in the woods. This cabin serves as your hub during your adventures as a lumberjack. Here, you can receive mail from several characters in the lore, collect animals that you save from each final round in a level, and "purchase" items from your cupboard/shop hybrid.
What I found interesting about the cupboard is that, in addition to powerups/mistake coverups that you can buy to help you complete a difficult level, you can also purchase cosmetic items for the several animals you end up saving throughout every area of the forest. Clicking on an animal results in the animal bouncing from its original position and emitting a stereotypical yet humorous grunt.
Veterans of games like Fruit Ninja who may find the game a bit too easy for their taste may purchase beards from the cupboard. Beards serve as difficulty stackers for each round that also multiply your score. I took a minute to try the first beard on sale but quickly had to remove it because it really toughens it up quite a bit.
Ultimately, the aim/plot of the game is to cut enough trees to avenge your grandma. You meet several minor characters along the way, particularly a Lumberjill and an odd fellow who consistenty mails you named Ranger Bob. While the story isn't particularly interesting or important, it's nice to have it as a bit of a side explanation for Jack's psychopathic tendencies.
What I loved about this game was the art style and music. The familiar pink-tinted and cartoony feel of Jack Lumber is a welcome style for a casual Indie game like this, and something that fans of Snuggle Truck (one of Boston based Owlchemy's earlier games) will appreciate. The music adds a lot to the gameplay as well, with familiar harmonica, banjo, and mandolin tunes adding to the forest lumberjack-ing experience.
Though the game is based on a very simple mechanics, it's immensely fun. The different types of logs that you discover throughout various parts of the forest are interesting and make every level more challenging and entertaining. While the Steam version's price tag is a bit hefty for a fun yet simple game already released on iOS months prior, I still recommend it for anyone looking for a basic yet engaging game.