The mountainous lumberjack Jack Lumber is the stuff of legends. He can fell a forest with one electrifying swing of his axe, sending logs flying and spinning in every direction. Then he can slice and dice these logs into matchsticks as neatly as any Fruit Ninja. But it’s not commerce that drives his axe– it’s revenge.
Jack Lumber is a new game published by Sega and developed by Owlchemy Labs, as part of Sega’s new Alliance program to publish third-party indie titles. Owlchemy Labs is best known for stepping into the immigration debate with their controversial driving game Smuggle Truck, which was later changed into the plushy, inoffensive Snuggle Truck.
Jack Lumber retains much of the humor that made Smuggle/Snuggle Truck so much fun. Jack is a goofy, skillful axeman, and his quest to find and destroy the pine tree that fell on his grandma seems rather heartfelt. Of course, the story is mainly an excuse for you to slice up pieces of wood, but that’s more motivation than most iOS heroes usually have.
After a stylish intro cutscene, you’ll have to trace your finger on the screen to split logs that Jack has tossed into the air. Holding your finger on the screen will slow the logs, but not stop them, which gives the game a fantastic element of careful timing. Certain logs can only be split in one direction, while others require multiple cuts.
You’ll earn bonus points for making straight cuts between logs, and for hitting each log perfectly in the least amount of time. The balance between speed and accuracy is critical to reaching a high score, but you can also buy maple syrup power-ups using in-game currency that will let you get away with a few mistakes.
In each of the game’s 24 levels, you can earn up to three stars for performing well, with a challenging fourth “plaid” medal available after you complete the game. While we liked these opportunities to replay the game for even higher scores, it seems like you can cheat on the leaderboards by just spending real money on power-ups. We preferred using the beards you can purchase, which give you bonus multipliers in exchange for a more challenging experience.
Jack Lumber is filled with charming details beyond the fun main gameplay. Jack’s house becomes home to the woodland creatures he finds along the way, and your beaver pal will make terrible puns when each new one arrives. You’ll also receive regular letters from Jack’s love interest, Jill Timber, and a few other amusing characters as well.
Jack Lumber is a short game, and some of its secrets may not be readily apparent, but it’s a highly rewarding game with a great main character. Between the excellent art style, goofy humor, and enjoyable gameplay, Jack Lumber is as lovable as its rugged hero. It’s the stuff of App Store legends.