Jack Lumber's grandmother was murdered by a tree – in cold blood. Now he's out for revenge, destroying any shred of foliage he can slice his ax through. This is the premise for Owlchemy Labs' newest mobile game, Jack Lumber, and if you've seen their previous work, you won't be too surprised at the silliness of it.
When I first found the game at PAX East's Indie Megabooth, I instantly compared it to Fruit Ninja in my mind, and at their core they are very similar. Once you get past that initial comparison of slicing objects, Owlchemy's latest game becomes a very different beast, and in all the right ways.
Jack is a supernatural lumberjack that can slow time to a crawl, that he may slice his evergreen enemies to pieces in what the developer calls “Lumber-Time”. It's a necessary ability too, as the logs move quite fast, must be cut in a single drawn path, and can only be cut along the grain. The concept is taken a step further with logs that can only be cut one way, cut multiple times, or in multiple places. A sense of urgency kicks in as well when a timer appears on screen when drawing a path; Jack's powers are finite in their duration. The game also rewards precision, where more points are given for cutting multiple logs straight-on, adding the element of when the player should even place a finger on the screen and slow down time.
Throw in adorable forest animals that should never be cut (Jack loves all creatures of the woods, except trees), an allied beaver that will throw some bombs your way to help, and a ton of targets thrown in at once to destroy, and situations are created that can get very hectic, very fast. This certainly isn't a “swipe the screen to win” type of game, and I was pleasantly surprised at how fleshed out the concept was in practice.
Ridiculous, absurd, and silly only begin to describe Jack Lumber, but ultimately, and most importantly, the game is a ton of fun to play. With how polished the game is, how smooth it runs, and the amount of character given to it, all of which is not always seen in the mobile space, it's easy to conclude that Owlchemy Labs are passionate about their work. Be sure to keep an eye out and show this title to that friend you have that loves the environment, as it hits mobile platforms this summer.