Have you ever wanted to be a writer? If not a writer, what about a director or actor? Most people in America at one point or another have dreamed about becoming a celebrity or movie star, idolizing those who the media deem as worthy. With fame comes certain expectations and even more pressure to live up to those expectations. Now the question comes, what if you had the power to be a star and also be the director of the film you were starring in? This is the core focus of Chanko Studios game, It’s A Wrap!
It’s A Wrap!
Developer: Chanko Studios
Publisher: AMC Games
Platforms: PC (Steam) and Nintendo Switch
Release Date: August 23rd, 2023
At PAX West 2022, we met with AMC Games to preview their upcoming game It’s A Wrap; the demo primarily showcased to players what they could expect from the game upon release. As a lesser-known title, guests could walk up to the game, play a few levels, and then walk away either satisfied that they completed it or annoyed that they didn’t get the concept. A year later, we finally got to get our hands on It’s A Wrap! But what is It’s A Wrap?
It’s a Wrap is a game that is both a puzzler and platformer; the game features three movies that the player can shoot and playthrough where they will have to take on the role of both the director and the game’s leading actor. In the Director phase, the player is presented with a script that they must figure out in order to line up certain sequences; as the game progresses, the sequences become harder to decipher or execute requiring almost exact precision. In later stages, certain events will be locked and the player must plan around them. Once the player has decided when they want sequences to trigger, the player can start the scene by yelling action.
Once the scene has started to roll, the player takes the role of the story’s protagonist Johnny. Despite disagreeing with some scene changes, Johnny is determined to make the scene work as perfectly as possible. During each scene, you will need to maneuver Johnny throughout the level by having him jump, dodge, and bounce off objects in order to make it to the finish line. Don’t worry, if you fail Johnny will die slightly but Cut will be yelled, and the scene goes back to the scene board.
Back at the drawing/scene board stage, you will need to figure out what went wrong. Was it your timing on dodging obstacles as Johnny or was an event poorly times and missed its mark? With each scene attempt, you will learn a little bit more each time. If you are having trouble though, the game gives you the ability to use the hint option. The hint option can be used to reveal a clue in the script or secure an event marker in the right place. On each level, the player gets a set amount of hints they can use to help solve the storyboarding puzzle. Even if you figure out the storyboard layout, it is up to you to still execute the scene flawlessly.
Good and Bad
If you are bad at Puzzlers or Platformers, It’s A Wrap! can be a bit of a challenge. As you are trying to get each scene right, you will have to decide if it was your platforming skills that failed or your puzzle-solving skills that timed the events poorly. Because of this, most players will have a variety of scrapped takes; on one hand, this can be part of the fun, but on the other, various failed attempts can be frustrating.
The inclusion of the hints option is both a blessing and a curse. At any point the player can use the hint option; for players who don’t like puzzlers, this eliminates the director portion. In doing so, this is removing a big portion of the game. If anything, the developers should have made the player earn the hint options similar to how ViewFinder handles it, with failure. Instead, the game just hands the player that option without having to work for it.
When it comes to It’s A Wrap!, the game is direct on its expectations, be both the director and the actor. With an 80s vibe referencing a variety of pop-culture movies, older gamers should enjoy the game direction of It’s A Wrap! The game’s controls are fairly easy to use on the Switch and platforming is pretty straightforward. The game direction does make for a fun two-stage gameplay but the easy access to the hint menu can easily eliminate half of what makes the game special.
For almost twenty dollars, It’s A Wrap! offers players a good bit of gameplay if they want to play the game for everything it has to offer; for those who are looking for a platformer alone, the game falls short. The game is definitely worth checking out if you want something a bit different and can provide at least a few hours of excitement. Hell, the different deaths Johnny has alone can make it worth the pickup.
It’s A Wrap! was reviewed on a Nintendo Switch using a copy provided by AMC Games. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. It’s A Wrap! was released on August 23rd, 2023 on PC (Steam) and Nintendo Switch.