Total Score - 10
Summary : The best thing about Jack Lumber is the story under the plaid and flying splinters of wood. Chopping down the forest to see it is great fun.
A tree killed Jack Lumber’s granny, so now he’s out for revenge. He’s chopping his way through the woods in order to get the tree that killed his granny, one that has a big smile and glowing magenta pine cones.
Logs are thrown into the air for you to cut lengthwise using the cursor. Jack is such a powerful woodsman that he can use “Lumber Time” to slow the action on the screen so that you have more opportunity to get in the cuts that you need. If you miss the logs he lets out Homer Simpson-esque noises of disappointment and rage. Once you’ve gotten the hang of regular logs, you move on to harder ones. There are logs that can only be cut in one direction, logs that require multiple cuts, and logs that are weirdly shaped and require careful chopping, all while a clock ticks away. Sometimes there will be a syrup bottle on the screen, which you want to chop last, because that will result in logs getting stuck to screen, making for easy chopping.
All this clear-cutting naturally displaces animals, which show up on one of the last screens of each level. With careful cutting you can avoid hitting them and then they come and live with you in your fabulous log cabin. If you hit one or two, well that’s ok, there’s an achievement for doing that, and you can always do the level over if you need to. The animals in the cabin give you access to special items that you can buy. For example, the squirrel gives you the ability to buy Honey syrup, which makes the time freeze you get from cutting time freeze logs last longer.
Each level requires you to chop a certain number of logs to pieces before you can move on to the next level. If you don’t get the required number, then you have to play it again.
You can buy various items from Granny’s Cupboard to help you achieve your goals on each level. Syrups aid you in completing the different levels by helping you fix mistakes you’ve made or allow you to cut one-way logs the other way or to slow time. The only problem I have with them is that you don’t get to decide when to use them. When a situation comes up where a syrup would be applicable and you have it, then the game applies it. This can be annoying if you have one of those levels where you totally flub everything and the game wastes all your syrups. I guess it would’ve been more difficult to have the player be chopping logs and also using up the syrups manually. They really don’t cost that much chopped wood to buy, but I’d still rather be in control of when they get used. The game could’ve added a pop-up that asks if you want to utilize a syrup instead of just doing it.
There are also beards in the game that you can buy to make it more challenging and gain extra bonuses. Then there are the hats, which go on all the animals in the cabin. You can also buy other crazier items Since Jack Lumber likes beavers in his cabin, you can buy a picture of a beaver in a cabin to put in your cabin near the beaver that’s now living there. speaking of the beaver in the cabin, if you poke him he’ll say all sorts of crazy puns and lumberjack-related humor. It’s this kind of attention to crazy detail that makes Jack Lumber a joy to play.
The other great thing about Jack Lumber is that there’s a story hiding under all the plaid and flying splinters of wood. You just have to chop down all the trees in the forest to see it, but it’s something you’ll definitely want to do.