Jumanji Gameplay Revealed–It Isn’t Looking Great

Jumanji Gameplay Revealed–It Isn’t Looking Great

Let's hope a lot of this changes before Jumanji: The Video Game releases on November 8.

First impressions aren’t everything. I’ve often been pleasantly surprised by games that initially looked kind of awkward. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for something like that happening with Jumanji: The Video Game, because this gameplay trailer is not doing it any favors.

It’s not just that the character models look like knockoff Fortnite characters. In fact, I think the graphics are probably the best part about this trailer. They may not be very detailed, but they are colorful and vibrant, and the actors’ likenesses are vaguely accurate. The visuals are the least of my concerns.

The gameplay is my real problem with this trailer. The combat looks like a ham-handed approximation of Nintendo 64 era beat ’em ups, and every shooting sequence makes me uncomfortable. At all points, the characters move slowly and stiffly. Without any real context and without decent animations to add emphasis, none of this looks heroic or fun–it just looks silly.

The music isn’t helping. It is the most nondescript, subdued “jungle” beat I’ve ever heard. It seems embarrassed to be a part of the trailer. Listen to something else. Maybe that will help make those shots of characters jogging around aimlessly more interesting.

Look, I hope I’ll have to eat my words later. The new Jumanji film was pretty fun, and I’d love to play a good game based on it. Jumanji: The Video Game‘s most promising element is its emphasis on multiplayer cooperation. If it gets something like that right, I’d be willing to overlook a lot of shortcomings when it comes to combat, graphics, and music. Here’s to hoping.

Jumanji: The Video Game releases November 8 for PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC.