Follow TV Tropes

Following

Video Game / Jazztronauts

Go To

Jazztronauts is a custom gamemode released for Garry's Mod in 2018. It revolves around the exploration and looting of every map available for download on the Steam Workshop, with some edutainment aspects regarding the Source engine.

While exploring an adventure map, you come across a team of four anthropomorphic cats who seem to be bickering about... something that seems to be meta in nature. After they catch you on the other side of a windowed room, you're immediately swept into whatever they were talking about earlier, and get whisked away to a bar owned by them known as the Samsara.

Advertisement:

This is where you discover what exactly it is they do for a living: dissecting Garry's Mod maps for profit and sustenance. As it turns out, human players aren't nearly as much of a liability to themselves as the cats themselves are, and you happen to be the ideal employee for the job.

Jazztronauts features a very basic premise: go into a randomly-selected Workshop map, try to steal all the props (even the ones nailed down) and collect the shards the cats need. Once you're done, call the bus and head back to the Samsara, where you can upgrade your gear and purchase some new equipment. To make things a little more exciting, the cats offer different missions for their own ends, which unlock various visual novel-esque cutscenes fleshing out their individual characters. Some even say you might be able to date them once you get far enough...

Advertisement:

Jazztronauts contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Achievements in Ignorance: The Cellist's perpetual drug trip actually enhances his abilities. The Pianist snaps upon realizing that he lost one of the Samsara's guests in Flatgrass because he was sober.
  • Alien Geometries: The door to the Mewseum doesn't follow normal geometry, as the exit isn't even a part of the wall, and looking through the windows shows that there's a normal hall beyond what should be the entrance door.
  • all lowercase letters: The Cellist does this almost all the time, only capitalizing stuff such as his "Good Shit" among a few other things. He completely drops this as he starts talking about his serious issues at his finale.
  • Ambiguous Gender: The Singer is never referred to with any gendered pronoun, and wears a gender-neutral uniform like the rest of the cats.
  • An Aesop: With the exception of the Bartender, the sidequest finales all hammer in one distinct point:
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Staring into a brushnote  that's been looted will show a pink void. Inside, it's possible to spot the remaining shards but not what's around it, allowing you to divine the approximate direction and distance you need to take.
  • Apocalypse How: Once (potentially twice) in New Game+:
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Choose not to skip the Cellist's finale, and you'll find yourself asking this to the Cellist after he starts telling the truth and ranting about how useless he really is now:
    You: Are you trying to convince me of that, or yourself?
    • Immediately after, you ask him if his collateral damages make up for what he's done on purpose. It's enough for him to see how things really are and eventually starts weeping like crazy into your shoulder because of this.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Band runs over ??? before they can erase everything in the New Game+ Golden Ending.
  • Blood Knight: The first cutscene with the Pianist has her suggesting a coliseum to the Bartender. After the latter rhetorically asks the former whether or not she'd enjoy picking bloodied sand out of her fur, the Pianist simply responds with a flat "yes."
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: The Bartender. Maintaining the Samsara and trolley is her job, but you'd think that the presence of the other cats would eventually get to her.note  This isn't even getting into the fact that countless copies of her T-posing seem to fill the dimensional space between maps.
  • But Thou Must!: Even though the Cellist explicitly advises not to mess with the Pianist early on (and it's obvious he's speaking the truth because he's high), the latter's second cutscene forces you to provoke her to advance. However, other interactions with the Pianist allow you to stroke her ego instead of angering her.
  • Calvinball: Downplayed with "flavor-blasted blackjack," which is exactly like blackjack except the players can steal each other's money through unexplained rules.
  • Cerebus Retcon: The Cellist's finale completely removes the humor from all of his other interactions.
    • Being terrified by basic causality? Him being deathly afraid he'll crash.
    • Telling you to go fetch increasingly bizarre chemicals for use in his experiments? Trying to come up with a new drug that can replicate the experience that drove him into addiction.
    • Joking about seeing you as a tool? An indication that he believes I've Come Too Far and knows only how to hurt others.
    • Those art history discussions? The last shred of humanity he thinks he still has.
    • The Pianist's cutscene where the two of you try to steal the Good Shit also stops being funny once you complete both her and the Cellist's finales. Turning to drug use to try and gain back something you lost is something that is, quite sadly, Truth in Television. Thank god the Cellist replaced it with a fake.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The New Game+ story, which shifts the in-game lore from "your average Visual Novel-type gameplay" to "intrigue plot" as you uncover more and more about a fifth cat who has become distressingly disgruntled by the Band's antics and makes no attempt to stop for idle chatter or jokes.
    • It's fairly evident that you as a character aren't taking your interactions in the Samsara that seriously, though your mood and tone gets progressively more solemn and serious as the aforementioned plot thread advances. Case-in-point, to view the true ending:
    You: A compelling offer. I propose a third option.
  • Composite Character: A non-animate example forms jazz_apartments:
    • The Bartender once took a shortcut through spacetime and accidentally splintered herself in the process, leaving behind countless t-posing copies of her. ??? speaks of the Shards in a similar fashion.
    • There is a locked room full of chemicals, the Cellist's calling card.
    • An empty room exists in the apartment for no real reason, and ??? communicates in an anomalous room, similarly to the Singer and their Mewseum.
    • The place itself is dark and scary-looking, something right up the Pianist's alley.
  • The Cynic: The Pianist, who tends to think poorly of the world around her. Fittingly, they always seem emotionally drained, unless bloodshed or morbid reality is involved. It's also implied multiple times that she's manipulating the emotions of the crew for her own gains.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: The Bartender only ever knew how to destroy things before she met the rest of the band. While it comes in handy even now, she didn't just destroy props.
  • Dialogue Tree: Every cutscene gives you at least one moment where you can select one out of two or three dialogue options. While some simply open up different insights and others are there just to let you back out, the Pianist's cutscenes are distinct in that each branch either portrays you as someone relentlessly stroking her ego or someone utterly fed up with her, with the exception of the headcrab fiasco.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: You encounter the Pianist doing this in the lategame. After she passes out, the Bartender explains that the Pianist, after the old group left, lost her impulses and piano expertise, something that has obviously taken a toll on her mind.
  • Edutainment Game: Downplayed. While the main Kleptomaniac Hero objectives are the main focus, the gamemode also serves as a way of teaching how mapmaking works on the side.
  • Everyone Has Standards: The Cellist is always high on various substances, some of which would easily be extremely lethal to a regular human, but drags you off to a safe place in his second cutscene if you choose to drink the mixture he's cooked up.
  • Exact Words: When the Pianist assigns you her first mission, she says she's broke. Upon returning:
    Pianist: I'm morally bankrupt, not destitute.
  • Gargle Blaster: The Cellist loves to concoct a volatile mixture known as the "Good Shit," which can either be drunk or smoked from a bong. His high tolerance to the substance (and just about everything else) is what leads to his constant inebriation, but the other three cats know they wouldn't be so lucky, and if a human player tries to drink it, it simply incapacitates them for a short while.
  • Genre Shift: The New Game+ cutscenes take place in what could easily come out of a horror game. While there seems to be no real scares, it's important since it sets the tone and mood for the post-game plot, which is largely intrigue-oriented.
  • Grew Beyond Their Programming: The Half-Life 2 NPCs under the Singer's care.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: The Pianist, aside from being highly cynical and abrasive, is entertained exclusively by morbid and violent things (a common sign that someone is a sociopath or psychopath), and apparently cheering up the Singer in her third quest is a special case for her, since while she didn't want them to cry just then, she makes an aside basically stating she'd let it happen any other time. Of course, it's all Played for Laughs.
  • Human Resources: A Poor Kleiner the player kidnaps is smashed into a blunt and ripped by the Cellist.
  • Hypocritical Humor: The Pianist is into morbid reality and bloodshed. That being said, when the Singer asked her for strange-looking bodies, she lost her shit.
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog: If you choose to back out of the third cutscene with the Cellist, your character will mention something about a horse in the oven.
  • Insufferable Genius: The Pianist is incredibly stuck-up during her schemes and appears to find it excruciatingly difficult to admit defeat after the headcrab fiasco - a hint that she may have been using the crew for God knows how long.
  • Interface Screw: Picking up a Shard will destroy a set number of non-prop brushes around it depending on how many are left. While the intent is to allow you to scout out the last few shards, it can be difficult to navigate through since removing a brush leaves behind a blurry window to the Void, which is hot pink.
    • Black Shards take this Up to Eleven. Once everyone confirms that they agree to take it and advance the New Game+ story, the Black Shard disintegrates all brushes in the map and turns the Void maroon, necessitating that all players collect what they've needed before locking in.
  • Ironic Name: The Singer only ever communicates using an electronic tablet.
    • The Cellist is perpetually high, something that would impede the use of an instrument requiring fine-hand coordination and concentration.
    • The Pianist is a highly calculated individual, something that an actual pianist would need to avoid.
    • It is eventually explained that the reason for all of this is that something in the past took away all of their proficiency in their particular role in the band - the Singer had a literal loss for words after encountering something so unspeakably beautiful so long ago, the Cellist's addiction is just that - an addiction, and the Pianist inexplicably lost the ability to act without thinking after the last group of guests left the Samsara.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The Pianist. Despite her cynical, morally-bankrupt attitude, she's more than willing to share with you if you do her missions, explained early on by her distaste for Greed and desire to redistribute wealth among those who need it.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: One of the Pianist's cutscenes has you working with her to steal what is supposedly the Cellist's "Good Shit." She knows he knows she loves digging around in his room to look for the Good Shit and that he apparently leaves the stuff in plain sight in the hopes that she'll be distracted by his other forms of storage. Her scheme seems to work, but after she passes out on the ground after smoking the Good Shit, the Cellist stops by, reveals that it's just a bunch of aromatherapy material shoplifted from a Bed Bath & Beyond, and that he knows that the Pianist actually believes he'd play such mindgames like the one she thought he was playing, meaning that he hid the Good Shit elsewhere in his room after all.
  • Killer Rabbit: Your companions consist of four anthropomorphic cats who, while cute, are capable of distorting reality, abusing substances that would have left a human long dead, and have been around for about as long as the Greek gods supposedly were. This applies double for the Bartender as one of her greatest regrets was using her destructive nature to take the lives of actual people before meeting the Band.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: You, and the cats. The most basic description of your job is "enter a map and steal everything that's considered a prop."
  • Manipulative Bastard: Implied to be the Pianist's true nature. Or not. She was mysteriously robbed of her piano expertise and impulses shortly before you arrived, with the resulting calculated, scheming persona depressing her to a serious extent (though not as bad as the Cellist.)
  • Mushroom Samba: Subverted with the Cellist's second cutscene. While he expects you to be hopped up on the new drink he made for several hours (perhaps days) and then wonder why you just purchased a grand piano off of Ebay, he conveniently forgets that human players are more resilient than his kind is, meaning that you simply see a bright flash and then end up borderline incapacitated, leading him to drag you off before you get hurt.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • "Normal" ending: Triggered at the end of any first playthrough, or if a playthrough chooses not to collect the Black Shards and/or meet with ???. After chugging the Shard juice, you shatter the Samsara and go with the Band to a new place in the void, something that turns out to be a creativity-induced hallucination.
    • "Bad" ending: Triggered if you don't complete all four sidequest routes in a New Game+.
    • "True" ending: Triggered by completing all four sidequest routes and refusing to take a side in ???'s proposal.
  • New Game+: You can start one after collecting 100 shards and viewing the ending, which unlocks new tools and multiplies your income. It also unlocks a new plot thread concerning a fifth individual who seems to have reached their breaking point with the Band's business front.
  • Oh, Crap!: The Cellist pulls one upon realizing that the thing the Pianist found in her third cutscene was a recorder and promptly goes to get a faceful of liquid nitrogen.
  • Only Sane Man: The Bartender is the only cat without any particularly offbeat quirks, despite her Mysterious Past. In addition, she was the only member of the Band who did not lose the skills needed to perform her duty and is also the only member who was able to truly move on from the dark side of her past.
  • Precision F-Strike: One (cut-off) piece of dialogue you have the option of saying to the Pianist in the Cellist's third cutscene is "don't leave me here with him, you rat fucker."
    • In the Pianist's second cutscene, you can either try to warn her that the Singer's right behind her or angrily tell her to shut the fuck up. Like the case above, this is also cut off.
  • Rage Breaking Point: In a case of this overlapping with Tranquil Fury, the first New Game+ cutscene has the unnamed fifth individual apparently reaching this with the Band.
    ???: I'm tired of looking.
  • Reality Ensues: The Cellist's situation. Oh look, a funny stoner who loves comical substance abuse! Except it ain't funny to him, and his addiction is no different than the number one reason people in Real Life fall into addiction: chasing the high.
  • Reality Warper: The cats seem to be capable of this, since the Bartender's second mission ends with her distorting spacetime to create a single drink (which makes sense when you think about it, since the game as a whole is Meta Fiction and the drink itself concerns the watermelon, one of the most ubiquitous props in Garry's Mod.)
  • Really 700 Years Old: If you choose to gamble with the cats, the Pianist will state that they've been alive for as long as Zeus was, which puts their age at several centuries if not millennia old.
  • Sad Clown: The Cellist's true nature, highlighting the bleak reality of his drug addiction.
  • The Stoic: The Pianist is eternally emotionally-drained, and has to rely on morbid things to entertain herself as she sees the world as a dull monotone.
  • The Stoner: The Cellist is perpetually high on a mixture of weed, cocaine, and other far more dangerous substances. He implies in the prologue that this actually benefits him, much to the Pianist's dismay. His introductory cutscene takes this Up to Eleven as he goes so far as to suggest that his internal fluids have been replaced wholesale with his highly volatile and experimental drugs. The finale reveals that this is no different from a real drug addiction, right down to how he fell into it, and is, in reality, extremely depressed, self-loathing, and borderline suicidal from it.
  • Talking with Signs: The Singer only ever communicates using an electronic tablet.
  • Team Mom: The Singer tries to keep the group dynamic healthy, but with things like the Pianist tossing high explosives at the Cellist over a petty argument of musical taste, it's not easy.
  • 20 Bear Asses: Every sidequest. Lampshaded by the Cellist, calls employment under them "fetch quest hell" in your first interaction with him.
  • When She Smiles: The Pianist's finale, in which your presence allows her to gain back her piano expertise and the carefree attitude it needs that she had lost for so long, is the first and only time she smiles out of true compassion.
  • With Friends Like These...: There are many signs that the group dynamic between the Band gets pretty unhealthy when out of action. Each member tells you that the others' appreciation for what they do is heavily closeted, and they all bear a slew of problems that don't exactly scream "companions." In fact, the Cellist outright considers the Pianist to be a sociopath or psychopath, and fully understands how alienating the Singer's habits and roles are.
  • The Worf Effect: Your resilience, something that the cats hire both you and other players over, is demonstrated early on when the Cellist's Good Shit has no mind-altering effects on you like he thought it would, only shooting out your basic senses one by one and then knocking you out as if several normal drinks were inside the shot glass at once.
  • Visual Novel: The medium in which all of the cutscenes are played out (but still using motion, since this is the Source engine), even neatly cut out into separate routes. Choosing to pursue any route or none at all does not affect the normal ending, but your interactions in the New Game+ story will change depending on whether or not you've completed all four routes.
  • The Voiceless: The Singer, ironically. It's later shown that they aren't physically mute, but similar to how the Cellist fell into addiction, they saw something so indescribably beautiful that they ended up willing themselves to be mute on accident, to the point where the Bartender yelled at them if they tried to fix it. Thankfully, they seem to be taking it well, and at the end, your dedication for them motivates them to sing again.
  • Wham Episode: The Cellist's finale, which portrays his many issues in a far more serious light as the other cats have started to grow genuinely concerned for his well-being.
  • Wham Line: The disclaimer before beginning the Cellist's finale, given what lies ahead. It first gives you the obligatory warning that the cutscene will last longer than usual, but then...
    Additionally, the following scene contains a more serious depiction of the Cellist's many issues. An option has been provided below to skip it and read a summary instead, if you would prefer to avoid playing through it.
Top

Example of:

/

Feedback