One of my favourite movies growing up was “Mall Rats” the extremely fun film was a part of the View Askew Universe from the mind of Kevin Smith and starred Jason Lee & Shannon Doherty amongst a massive ensemble cast. Prior to that Smith had made the popular film “Clerks” but that film although great didn’t hit home as Mallrats did for me. From there it was a cinematic journey of ridiculous fun for many years. I now listen to Kevin frequently on his podcast network Smodcast so yeah you could say, I'm a fan.
That’s where the real payoff of nostalgia is for me in the new video game for PC and Nintendo Switch “Jay and Silent Bob: Mall Brawl”. It takes the Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith characters of Jay and Silent Bob and puts them into a mall following a story that is really fun while in a fighting game setting similar to the NES version of arcade scrolling fighter “Double Dragon”.
The 8-bit aesthetic to the game transports you back in time to the retro console days. It was initially a concept game designed to be released as a deluxe digital download for pre-orders of the upcoming title “Jay and Silent Bob Chronic Blunt Punch” and will still be free to people who backed that game through crowdfunding.
Part of the genius of this game that serves as a prequel is that there’s a limited edition physical copy available that you can buy that comes on a Nintendo NES cartridge. That version of the game is completely working and can be played on a classic NES console as well as compatible retro Nintendo Entertainment Systems, and here I was thinking Brodie was a “Sega Boy”
Playing the actual game gives you a real sense of classic arcade. The side-scrolling is super smooth and the 8-bit recreations of the characters are on point. The controls are really simple and familiar which means you can just pick it up and play it without much thought, this in itself is a throwback to classic console titles. The level design is really strong, even a frustrating “shopping cart” level, that although not my favourite part of the game is still a massive homage to the games that inspired it.
The mechanics are the real surprise, on single player you play as the either Jay or Silent Bob depending on who you select on the entry screen, but once your health drops to nothing the game swaps you out to the other character while your health regenerates all ready to swap again and continue the fight without a break in play.
The rogue’s gallery in the game is also made up of View Askew characters the highlight being a battle with the Golgothan from the film “Dogma” (1999). Plus there is an enemy with a pretzel for a head, I think that is a reference to the classic Brodie stink palm scene from Mall Rats.
If you are looking for a good harmless fun side-scrolling brawler and you are a fan of Kevin Smith like I am then I can highly recommend “Jay and Silent Bob Mall Brawl”. Now how do we convince them to make a video game out of “Tusk”.