Do you have dreams of being a movie star and a movie director at the same time? I know this sounds like a challenging combination, but the result is a unique puzzle platformer that is unlike anything else I have played before. In It’s A Wrap! you play Johnny Rush, an action star who, like Tom Cruise, does all his own stunts — or fails horribly when trying. He currently stars in cheesy B-movies but has dreams of making it to the big times, where adoring fans throw flowers and even their bras at him. The movie director yelling is what wakes Johnny up from his dream. The casting call was hours ago, and he is late. So he runs into the wardrobe departments to make a quick outfit change and get on set for the first scene.
It's A Wrap! features three films that you get to play through: Ace Avanti and the Very Last Curse, Big Trouble in Space, and Cold as Hell. The three titles feel like B-movies full of action that you would see in movies from the ‘80s and ‘90s. They are full of throwbacks to classic movies like Indiana Jones and Star Wars. The first scenes that you play are quite simple and require you to perform simple tasks like running across a bridge before it collapses. The fun part is that you can jump between playing as Johnny or as the director. Playing as the director gives you access to the timeline of events that occur during the scene. For example, you can move the bridge falling event to later to give you more time to get across, but you will still have to jump to get to the goal.
As you film more scenes, the challenge increases. Instead of controlling only one element, more gets added that you will need to manipulate and time just right so that you have a chance to get through the scene successfully when you play as Johnny. First, you are shown the script so you have an idea of what is going to happen during filming. Based on this, you can take a look at the timeline that is shown below and check out how everything is currently timed. Like in a real editing program, such as Adobe Premier, you can drag the cursor through the events and see a preview of what will happen. Sometimes, it is very obvious that platforms are moving out of the way at an unreasonable time or boulders are coming at Johnny when there is no chance of him being able to avoid them. Once you have the different elements moved, you can jump into Action Mode and try to play through the scene and get to the gold flag at the end to successfully complete it and have the clapperboard snap, signifying that "it's a wrap" and that scene is complete.
As you progress, some of the different set pieces can’t be moved around the timeline. They are designated by diagonal stripes, and these are in the right place, so you just have to worry about moving everything else around them. Some sections took over 20 takes to get the timing just right so that I was able to complete it. Though if you get really stuck, It’s A Wrap! does offer a hint system that you can use when you are really unsure of what to do. They can give you more information in the Scene Script, or if you need more help, you can lock one of the tracks in the right place so one of the elements happens at the exact time it is supposed to.
It’s A Wrap! gives you the option to use a controller or a keyboard and mouse to control the game. Both worked well on their own, but I found that I used a mix of the two while I played. For the action sections with Johnny, I was using the controller, and then when I needed to move elements around on the timeline, I was utilising the mouse. It could be that I’m just used to editing videos this way and found it a lot easier to manipulate all the items as it's the way that I have always done it, but both options work very well.
In between these sections are animated scenes that show Johnny on the movie set with his co-stars and the other staff on set. The cartoon style of the visuals works great for this and fits the sense of humour in this over-the-top B-film. Vibrant colours give the game an exciting feeling that gives all the characters unique and fun personalities. It’s A Wrap!’s soundtrack is interesting because it changes based on the film that you are currently playing through. The Ace Avanti “film” has music like an adventure movie like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, whereas the Big Trouble In Space film has a sci-fi feeling like Blade Runner that fits that story. The music fit all the different movies very well, and I enjoyed the variety of tracks that played while I was trying to get through the scenes. Besides music, you also get to hear the director yelling whenever you screw up or have to start over again. Fortunately, there are a variety of different sayings so that it doesn’t get too repetitive as you fail over and over again! It was neat seeing the amount of takes for each scene update on the clapperboard when you begin your next attempt.
I have had a fun time playing through these different movie puzzles in It’s A Wrap! It's a title that will get you thinking and is great for movie fans who want to try to control the action in a film and enjoy B-side movies. I will say that the challenge feels a lot more like trial and error instead of a puzzle-solving or platforming-based challenge, but there were many times I legit missed a jump because of bad timing on my behalf while controlling the actor. Sometimes, it was difficult to see what exactly you needed to do in the platforming section of the level to successfully get through to the end. It took me a long time to notice that I could jump off the pillar in the second scene to avoid the boulder that was coming at me. This is definitely a puzzle game with a twist that I recommend trying out for yourself, and if needed, use a hint to avoid frustration when you get stuck and can’t figure out a solution. Directors in real life have assistants to help them out when they need it, so you can, too!
It's a Wrap! (Reviewed on Windows)
This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.
It’s A Wrap! is a unique puzzle platforming game that has you playing as both the star of a movie and the director. It can get frustrating at times, but the added hint system helps you progress and complete the film.