I’ve been a fan of Kevin Smith’s movies since I first stumbled on a videotape of Clerks when I was just 11 years old. I’m sad to say, then, that Jay and Silent Bob: Mall Brawl Arcade Edition is an awful blemish on the largely brilliant View Askewniverse. And yes, it’s worse than Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, and there’s not enough weed, beers, wizz, or coke to make it any better.
Some developers seem to think that by making a game in the style of arcade brawlers from 30 years ago and calling them throwbacks to classic games, that they can get away with making an inferior product. I’m sorry, but I’m just not buying it. If you’re going to make an out of date game, dismissing everything that games have grown into, it had better be absolutely stellar and above all else – fun.
I’m a fan of looking back to the past, too. Whenever the lads and I get together, I’m always the first to recount the glory days by retelling the tales that we as a group have heard a thousand times. Now that we’re all in our 30s, those tales have lost some of the magic. The familiar punch lines that I’ve spent a decade crafting don’t get the same laughs they once did, just chuckles and a half-hearted “yeah, those were the days.”
The same is true for games of the NES-era, and by that measure, games that emulate that period in gaming history. They just don’t have anything left in the tank. That tap has run dry. There’s nothing left to squeeze out of it.
Jay and Silent Bob, hetero-life-mates, are on a new adventure but it’s one that I do not recommend. It’s an NES game in every sense – from the old school sprites to the beepity-boppity soundtrack, and of course, the super simple and super annoying gameplay which relies on enemies being absolute dicks to extend the run time. It’s not fun and after a couple of hours of trying to find any redeeming qualities about the game, I gave it up as a bad job. I only got as far as the third stage, but I was ready to call it quits on stage two. The shopping trolley segment on stage three is what finally settled my decision to say “fuck it” and delete the game from my console.
If Jay and Silent Bob die, it’s game over and you start the level from the beginning, meaning tediously smashing your way through fodder enemies as well as dickheads on skateboards and other annoying characters that can’t be fought in a fair fight. These enemies serve no purpose other than to annoy the player and extend the run time by chipping away at your health until you’re forced back to the beginning of the stage. No thank you. We’ve come beyond the days of arcade games robbing kids of their pennies by programming shit tactics into games. We have lootboxes now.
Jay and Silent Bob: Mall Brawl could have been called anything – it’s that generic. Its relevance to the titular characters is minimal and throwing a few cheap references into the background does not do the source material justice; it’s insulting.
As much as any fan of Jay and Silent Bob, I would love a decent game, no matter what form it comes in. Point and click? Why not. Telltale style adventure? I’m down for that. Cheap and nasty NES knockoff? Thanks, but no thanks.
I’m a massive fan of Jay, Silent Bob, and the rest of Kevin Smith’s catalogue of characters, but this will go down as a dark mark on the View Askewniverse. It’s poor – really poor, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This is a prequel to a proper game that will release in the future, and that at least looks a bit more promising. And even if that game isn’t as good as it should be, it’ll still be better than this, because nobody makes the same mistake twice. That’s why I don’t have a brother.
Jay and Silent Bob Mall Brawl PS5, PS4 Review
Overall - Really Bad - 3/10
Jay and Silent Bob Mall Brawl is an awful game riding on the Jay and Silent Bob name. There are no redeeming qualities and it’s another dark mark on the otherwise fantastic View Askewniverse.
- Poor, frustrating gameplay
- Terrible use of the Jay and Silent Bob brand
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Primary version tested: PS4. Reviewed using PS5.