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An Xbox Live Arcade game by Twisted Pixel.

Meet Captain Smiley. With his super powers, dual laser guns, winning personality, and wisecracking Chest Insignia Star, he's sure to be the next comic book sensation... or he would be, if anyone liked his comic. Once his comic is cancelled, the fine folks at Twisted Pixel offer Captain Smiley a way to revive his series: make guest appearances in various other comics until he's popular enough to get his own back.

Gameplay consists mainly of traditonal side scrolling whilst shooting anything that moves with the usual platforming and some melee thrown in. The standard action is broken up with on-rail third person shooting and quick time events. The game is very much a nod to the old school shooters of the 16-bit era and their harsher difficulty. There are no power-ups to restore health inbetween checkpoints but this is offset somewhat by infinite lives.

This work contains examples of:

  • The Ahnold: Nanoc the Obliviator.
  • All Anime Is Naughty Tentacles: Spoofed in the "Cutie Cutie Kid Cupids" world, with the "Hent High Fighting Tentacles".
  • Animated Actors
  • Animesque: Cutie Cutie Kid Cupids.
  • Anti-Hero: Smiley is only concerned with looking good and making money, and shows no genuinely heroic compulsions whatsoever. However his work is ostensibly akin to an acting career rather than an actual life of superheroics, but this doesn't stop him from being a petulant, shallow prima donna.
  • Anti-Villain: Brad. Star really likes him at least.
  • Art Shift: More or less the main gimmick, as each comic has Captain Smiley and Star change their outfit to fit in with the comic.
  • Aside Glance: When Mistress Ropes summons the Meat Monster in the final stage, she gives an exasperated look towards the audience whenever it starts eating itself.
  • BFS: To go along with his Cloud Strife cosplay, Smiley's melee weapon in Cutie Cutie Kid Cupids is pretty much a buster sword with a giant heart at the end of it.
  • Bishie Sparkle and Petal Power: Not seen on-screen, but Brad complains about sparkles and rose petals appearing around him when he's trapped in Cutie Cutie Kid Cupids.
  • Book Ends: The game starts with Smiley trying to foil a bank robbery by Doctor Winklemeyer and getting into a fight with Brad and his army of Bradbots, leading to Smiley getting into a fight with Star and punching him repeatedly, with a cut to several real life people destroying his comic book in disgust, and ending with the Twisted Pixel dev team looking at the comic and getting an idea. It ends with Smiley foiling the bank robbery again, this time killing Winklemeyer before going on a rampage, killing the rest of his rogue's gallery while fighting through an army of Bradbots, leading to Smiley getting into a fight with Star and punching him repeatedly, with a cut to the same real life people now loving Smiley's comic, ending with the Twisted Pixel dev team looking at the comic and nodding in approval while they stand in the middle of a giant pile of money.
  • Buffy-Speak: Oh so much.
  • Butt Monkey: Captain Smiley. At one point it becomes literal.
  • Calling Your Attacks: The manga stages are full of it, naturally.

  "Big Cartoony Heart!"

  • Color Failure: Smiley briefly loses his color when he's damaged, and when his health is too low it starts to stay that way.
  • Continuity Nod: The events of Twisted Pixel's previous games are mentioned in universe. There's reference to a series of underground 'splosions believed to be coming from research labs and astronomers discover that several solar systems have disappeared, with only a strange purple substance left behind.
  • Comics Code: Mocked during the Silver Age levels, when Star's cursing is constantly being censored, and you get slapped with a fine whenever you attack a puppet guard. The hypocrisy of the code allowing a deeply racist main character but no swearing is also lampshaded.
  • Crap Saccharine World: The world of The Cutie Cutie Kid Cupids; to the point where Brad is nearly Driven to Suicide by it.
  • Defeat Means Roommates: After you beat a boss, they are forced to move in with Captain Smiley until they get back on their feet. Neither party likes this arrangement.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He isn't deadpan, but Star has quite the razor wit.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The world of Cutie Cutie Kid Cupids is done in screen tones, like a real manga.
  • Distressed Damsel: Mocked in Smiley's own comic, when Gerda is Bound (but not Gagged) in the background and Smiley makes absolutely no attempt to rescue her (which she Lampshades). The building explodes just after you leave.
  • Downer Ending: Smiley successfully reboots his comic and wins the approval of the comic reading public, but the developers at Twisted Pixel swindle him out of the profits by contract, his sidekick Gerda resigns in disgust, and his co-workers hate him more than ever.
    • To be fair he did learn that it should be more about violence, action and some minor nudity.
    • Rule of Funny, man.
  • Epic Fail: A particularly gutbusting example is the reason for Smiley's comic readership dropping off.
  • Everything Is Trying to Kill You: Pretty much. Paper planes, puppets, and other improbable things are all trying to kill you. It can feel as though the developers are trying to kill you much of the time.
  • Expy: Brad is a villainous Duke Nukem.
  • Fan Dumb: In universe, when Smiley reads letters from fans at the end of the first "Improbable Paper Pals" issue.
  • Fake Difficulty: Many have pointed out that the game seems to be missing Health Pickups, although infinite lives offset this problem.
    • The RPG mechanic only exists to provide stat upgrades and never adds additional abilities. Later stages are practically impossible without these upgrades, thereby forcing the player to grind the optional Missions in order to proceed.
    • The world of Cutie Cutie Kid Cupids is entirely grayscale. This makes several incoming attacks extremely difficult to see.
  • Fat Bastard: Nanoc really let himself go after Puttmaster kicked him out of his kingdom
  • Femme Fatalons: On Mistress Ropes' modern costume.
  • Foe Yay: Star really likes Brad.
    • Smiley lampshades this by telling Star that they're gonna go back to the therapist if he keeps the trope up. The developers outright state that he's not right in the chest cavity in the description of one of the bonuses.
  • Fourth Wall Observer
  • Friends Rent Control: Justified, because Twisted Pixel (the game's developers) paid for the base. Somehow.
  • Gameplay Roulette: It swaps between a few gameplay styles, including scrolling Beat'Em Up, scrolling Shoot'Em Up and mostly-on-rails Third-Person Shooter.
  • Genius Bruiser: Brad gives every appearance of being a shallow, egotistical Jerk Jock, but apparently he has constructed his own robotic harem of shallow blondes to service him, a high tech battle helicopter and even produced his own theme music. Insipid he might be, but he's certainly not without talents.
  • Genki Girls: Pretty much every schoolgirl in Cutie Cutie Kid Cupids.
  • Giant Space Flea From Nowhere: Benny from the Silver Age level, as well as the giant head from the Manga level.
  • God Guise: There's one based around mini-golf in "Nanoc the Obliviator", of which Smiley's old foe the Puttmaster takes advantage.
  • Guns Akimbo
  • Hoist By Her Own Petard: Mistress Ropes in the final stage.
  • Hot Amazon: Nordya
  • Hotter and Sexier: Mistress Ropes becomes this when she transitions to the modern era.
  • Hulk Speak: Dr. Winklemeyer.
  • Hypocritical Humor: At the start of the game Smilely shows his disgust at Brad glorifying himself with a theme song stating "they were above that sorta thing". Come the final level however, he showcases his own theme song.
  • I Know Madden Kombat: The Puttmaster.
  • Insane Troll Logic: The Captain, right at the beginning in a wonderfully narmy Establishing Character Moment with Gerda at the receiving end.
  • It's All About Me: Captain Smiley.
    • At the end of the game, he finally learns that it's not all about him. It's also about explosions. Explosions and trite, poorly timed catch phrases blatantly robbed from films. And bathroom humor. And maybe some exposed female flesh, too. But definitely explosions.
  • Japanese Stock Phrases: A 'sugoi' is dropped at one point in Cutie Cutie Kid Cupids.
  • Jerkass: Every character to a certain degree, although Star probably the most. His entire life is apparently spent annoying and undermining Smiley while providing no help at all. He even takes giddy delight when Smiley accidentally murders an innocent old man at the beginning of Nanoc's comic.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Zig-Zagging Trope. During the whole game, Smiley appears as a pure and unadultered Jerkass, only caring about his image and money. But he's also shown feeling awful about killing an innocent old man and crashing his funeral. He then really try to understand Miss Ropes and calm her down instead of shooting her. Finally, there is his relationship with her sidekick Gerda. It's obvious he doesn't respect her at all, laughing at her when she's about to get exploded in a sea of TNT but she never tried to earn it, mocking and insulting him repeatedly during his missions. Strangely, he genuinely cares about Star when he seems to feel sick, even if the guy had no problem before to show he literally hates him.
  • Kill'Em All: Smiley both delightfully lets Gerda die again and brutally kills each nemesis in the final stage. When you get back to the base afterward, they're all pissed at him and quit, Gerda included.
    • Even the dev team is implied to be killed when their pet monkey throws a stick of dynamite into the giant pile of money they're standing in.
  • Love Bubbles: Smiley's gun fires them in the Manga segments, until Brad gives Smiley real bullets.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Winklemeyer, who seems to be less "scientist" and more "mad".
  • Magical Girl: The "Shoujo" manga stage seems to borrow mostly from Magical Girl tropes, including the main characters' mascot animal and Smiley spending most of the stage fighting dark shadowy beings with The Power of Love.
  • Martial Arts and Crafts
  • Mecha-Mooks: Brad builds his own Valley Girl henchmen/groupies, called the Bradbots. Star approves.
    • "You can make them do anything you want! Heh heh!"
  • Money, Dear Boy: The entire plot is so Smiley can get his comic back in circulation. Parodied by Twisted Pixel during the live action montage in the end.
  • More Dakka: Smiley's gun fighting method has much more to do with saturation than finesse. In the final stage his default pistols are upgraded into an even more potent form with a three foot long muzzle flare.
  • My Suit Is Also Super: And it comes with a wisecracking face called Star.
  • Narrow Parody: Twisted Pixel's idea of what constitutes Bishojo manga is fairly off the mark, but for obvious reasons. Smiley even admits it when the Heart Bats show up and attack.
  • No Fourth Wall: Most characters know they're in comic books. They often mention 'panels', 'writers' and such. They don't know they're in a game, though Smiley and Star can talk to the developers. You can even call on the developers of Twisted Pixel to help you out in combat, literally Breaking the Fourth Wall in the process.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Apparently Origami Kid was missing this whole time because he was off having wacky time travel-related adventures.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Captain Smiley becomes one in the extra Challenge missions.
  • Only Sane Woman: Gerda and Nordya
  • The Power of Love: Manga!Smiley's guns shoot hearts and bubbles, until he finally finds some real bullets and can start actually killing things.
  • Prop Recycling: Mistress Ropes conjurs the final boss out of Captain Smiley's thoughts. He had beaten Splosion Man recently, so he thought of the meat monster.
  • Purely Aesthetic Era: More like "purely aesthetic comic book genre". The gameplay is varied, but what comic genre you're in doesn't seem to make a difference; Smiley still shoots his guns, destroys homing missiles, has projectiles shot/thrown at him, and so on.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: The Bradbots. Well, they're about as "human" as anyone else in the game, anyway.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Gerda and all of the villains come to this on Captain Smiley after the final stage.
  • Smug Super: Smiley himself.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Nanoc
  • Sex Bot: Implied to be part of the Bradbots' function.
  • Shout-Out: Many.

  Star: This is all Richard Hammond's fault!

    • You die like Megaman, while Smiley mocks you for dying 3/4 the time.
    • At one point Smiley chooses a destructor much like Ray Stanz did.
    • There is a very big one to an independent comic called The Maniacal Smile. Besides the fact that the entire first issue is included in the game, the main character from it actually shows up in the base for a short time after the first manga mission. If you talk to him then him and Captain Smiley will argue about their smiler costumes.
    • Smiley refers to the "speed of time travel", 88 mph, from Back to The Future. Winklemeyer's helmet also seems to be intended to resemble the one Doc Brown is seen wearing.
    • Brad looks rather like a beefed-up Sketch Turner from Comix Zone.
    • Don't say you played the unicorn segments of Cutie Cutie Kid Cupids and didn't think "Always, I wanna be with you, and make believe with you, and live in harmony harmony OH LOVE"
    • Manga!Star looks very similar to Starfy.
  • Silver Age
  • Stop Helping Me!: Star hates Captain Smiley and loves Brad.
    • Plus Gerda (un)helpfully pointing out when your health is running low.
  • Straw Feminist: Mistress Ropes. Played for Laughs. When you defeat her, she gets Hotter and Sexier.
  • Take That Us: Star complains that The Maw was ripping people off, with DLC that should have been in the game to begin with. Guess who made that game.
    • The real joke there is that Comic Jumper has three hidden, unlockable levels... for Splosion Man!
    • There's also an announcement made to all Twisted Pixel staff to stop using pop culture references, as nobody thinks they're funny. Plus they can't afford the lawsuits.
  • Talking to Himself: The same guy, Christopher Sabat, voices Captain Smiley and Star.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Brad's Theme is one he recorded himself and you can see the speaker's he's playing it on to psyche himself up for his fight with Smiley.
  • Thud and Blunder: Nanoc the Obliviator's world.
  • The Unfought: Dr. Winklemeyer
  • Took a Level In Jerkass: Smiley at the end of the game.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Brad practically pissing himself during the Cutie Cutie Cupids levels, begging Smiley to get him out of there, which Star is more willing to take advantage of being a major fan of his. However once you rescue him and speak to him at the hub he just as much a jerkass then ever.
  • Valley Girl: The Bradbots.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Brad, at the end of the game. When Smiley goes to talk to him, he lost all his witty attitude and is suffering a massive depression, starting to write his own diary. Maybe that's because his Bradbots don't want him anymore and are now attracted to the Captain. It tells a lot about his real Casanova abilities but that's to be expected when you are humiliated by the Butt Monkey of the game.
    • Well, being trapped in a Shoujo manga for three issues being a teacher when you were a super-villian in your previous job can break you down really bad.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Captain Smiley and Star... possibly.
  • What Do You Mean It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Cutie Cutie Kid Cupids, which reaches such disgustingly cute and outright bizarre levels that it almost feels like a manga version of Charlie the Unicorn.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Paper Lad, who's basically a sentient wad of paper than can turn into other types of paper.
    • Smiley and Brad agree with this trope when they reach the Manga section.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The last stage. Wow.
  • Where It All Began: The final level is a repeat of the first, but changed to be more awesome.
  • X Meets Y: It's essentially an amalgam of Comix Zone, Gunstar Heroes and Sin and Punishment, with Twisted Pixel's own brand of self-indulgent comedy by way of Sam and Max Freelance Police.
  • Yandere: The girls of "Cutie Cutie Kid Cupids" don't take it kindly when Captain Smiley tries to take Brad away.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: LoLo, the goth looking cupid. After thanking Smiley for defeating her two sisters, she proclaims she's going to write a super sexy yaoi starring Smiley and Star. They have no idea what she means by that.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Gerda sports pink hair with her superhero outfit.
  • Your Mom: She "loves Captain Smiley."
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