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JadeDragon's reviews and playing tips: Pocket PC and Zaurus Linux games

Jack the Uni-Psychle by Discord Studios, Price: $14.95 (on sale for $9.95)
Reviewed May 2003

2D side-scrolling games like Mario and Sonic have not only earned themselves legions of fans, but also inspired many creative game developers. The creators of Jack the Uni-Psychle are among this proud group. The game has a great premise which makes for a good adventure: an ordinary guy named Jack has super psychic powers. The evil alien, Dr. Apocalypse, has abducted him and put his brain on a unicycle. Now, you have to help Jack defeat the evil Doc and reunite with his body.

The repetitive side scrolling unicycle game play is spiced up by a large number of background environments and Jack’s jumping and psychic abilities as well as various alien forms he encounters along the way. There are 6 long levels breaking down into 35 stages in the game. You can save your progress once you finish a stage. You will see some really nice backgrounds in various levels as Jack journeys through the Fairground, Rollercoaster, City Streets, Chemical Factory, Country Field, Meat Plant, Army Base and Dr. Apocalypse’s Space Station.

Not only can Jack collect power ups and gold tires, he can also use his jumping skills and psychic power to beat the alien enemies and bosses. In each level, Jack will encounter Imp the big-headed Green alien, a jumping eyeball called Ispy, a green alien with tentacle dreadlocks called Sukimon, the steel jaws chomping jumper Chummer or the flying rocket Ramnoid and more. If he survives, Jack gets to fight with the evil Doc and this mean machines like the angry-face tank, bomber ship, BulletHead, Saucer and Omega Machine. Who said riding a unicycle is a walk in the park?

You can control the game entirely using the hardware buttons, though you have an on-screen Psych attack button which you can tap with your stylus. The game presents you with plenty of challenges, and gives you the opportunity to save the game at the end of each stage. After you get used to the controls and know the enemies on each level, you can also try to beat the best time in the time trial. Once you progress far enough into the game, you will be treated to some cut scenes; if you can beat the game, you will unlock the cheat codes and game-ending scenes. For those impatient games, you can get the cheat codes including Infinite Lives, Level Warp and Psychic Storm here. But do try your best to beat the game on your own.

Much like the Mario and Sonic series, Jack the Uni-Psychle adopted some very catchy background tunes and very GBA like sound effects. The music and sound work nicely together to create a polished audio package. Those catchy tunes will replay themselves in your head for days if you play the game for too long. You have options to turn the music and sound on or off as well as adjust the volume. Jack currently supports ARM/Xscale on the Pocket PC and the Zaurus SL-5500 and SL-5600 on Linux.

Since the first time I saw the game on the Zaurus, I got hooked on the simple yet addictive game play. Its beautiful 2D graphics and fluid movement have turned more than a couple of heads. These alien creations stand a good chance in catching gamer’s imaginations. The none-stop actions in a long game will attract those with patience and quick reflexes. Just remember, when you face the evil Doc himself, keep a cool head!

Playing Hints and Tips

OK, here are the cheat codes! But I really mean it, give it a go and try beating the game on your own first.

screen shot

screen shot

Pocket PC


Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics Beautiful background graphics with smooth movements. Both the environment and the alien creations will attract your attention.
Sound Catchy background music and the fun sound effects that are nicely put together.
Fun Meter Game play captures the fun spirit of classic side-scrolling adventure games. Long game levels and many various environment settings will satisfy thirst for more game play. Jack could use a few more attacks and moves though.
Addictivity For veteran players of this genre, Jack could compare to a good GBA title. Even though each stage is pretty short, the game is quite long with high replay value.

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