Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass is a 2018 RPG Maker Game developed and published by Kasey Ozymy. It tells the story of Jimmy, an 8-year-old boy with a vivid imagination. Thanks to his powerful sense of empathy, he can take the form of fantastic creatures, such as a Revolting Blob or a Happy Little Sunflower.
One day, Jimmy awakens to Helga, his mother, singing to him. She asks him to get some Buddy Bee Honey for a cake, insisting his grumpy older brother Buck come along for the ride. What follows is a romp across Homeflower to get some honey. But, the two find that all is not well in Jimmy’s world. Something oozes along the cracks, pulsing, throbbing, and corrupting.
The game takes considerable inspiration from Earthbound, and the Mother series as a whole. Ozymy worked on the game’s visuals and audio alone, and it is clear that it was a labor of love. Each area feels unique, from the seasonal changes of Fermata Forest to the corporate Tetsuya Kawaii. There is a definite darkness behind the veneer of cheer in Jimmy’s imaginary world. A child’s imagination is both something wonderful and terrifying. Thanks to Jimmy’s sense of empathy, he internalizes a lot more from the real world than the adults in his life believe he does. It also allows him to change his form to fight monsters and solve puzzles, an enjoyable part of the exploration.
In all, the main game is about 40 hours, but Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass has lots of optional dungeons and even some postgame content. Many of these areas help to flesh out the backstory of Jimmy and his family and how they deal with hardship. Two of my favorite dungeons are Rainbow Park (delving into Helga’s backstory) and Turnbuckle’s Mansion (resembling an adventure game). My favorite town is probably Mute Notes since it marks a major turning point in the plot. It helps that “Carton of Cigarettes, Half Smoked” is a perfect fit for this jazzy noir town.
As a matter of fact, Ozymy has produced a number of what can only be described as bangers. Every track does a great job describing its area and enhances the atmosphere. The soundtrack for Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass is available online. Personal standouts include “Toaster with Teeth,” “Knuckle Sandwich and Ladyfingers,” and “The Growing Ladder.”
Perhaps the game’s weakest area is its combat. It starts out as a fairly typical RPG Maker slugfest, but soon players are inundated with options. Once the player has enough party members, skills, equipment, and MP at their disposal, the easiest tactic is to set up a single big attack and take off large chunks of health. Not all bosses work like this, but nightmarish bonus bosses are rendered less threatening when these strategies become available. Towards the end of the game, this fortify-and-fry tactic becomes more and more necessary. While the other characters, as adults, have more fixed roles, Jimmy is flexible and can change form and role using his Imagination. Enemy designs are interesting and thematic, and the atmosphere of the dungeons makes up for the average combat.
Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass has some big reveals. This is a game that rewards exploration and experimentation. Do the optional dungeons. Look around. Shake people in the Low-Level Goon form. Jimmy’s world is vast, and you can backtrack almost anywhere with new powers and do new things.
Check out the trailer below. Fresh.
Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass was reviewed by TechRaptor on PC with a code purchased via Steam.