WiiWare | Shin'en | 1 Player | Out Now | 1,000 Nintendo Points
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote and Nunchuk
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30th June 2010; By KnucklesSonic8
The game's storyline will introduce you to Jett, an endearing character who patrols the skies, making sure that Planet Yoroppa is kept in tip-top shape. After some brief introductions, his patrol hub is attacked by a robot creature that sends him down to the ocean below. You soon learn that various areas of the planet are being attacked by what's known as the 'Power Plant Posse', or, 'PPP' for short. This evil organization is causing mischief by stealing energy from all over the planet, and it's up to you to stop them in their tracks, with the encouragement of your trusted animal friend.
Controls in this game are very accessible. Moving Jett is mapped to the Nunchuk's analog stick, while jumps are executed with the press of the A Button. Your main attack is a forward dash that is performed simply by shaking the Wii Remote either on the ground, or in mid-air. If you're close enough, a yellow marker will appear to lock your attack onto nearby enemies of switches. I found that using the dash ability was fun to execute and didn't feel tacked on at all. It might have been nice to attack multiple enemies in the air, but this might just me being used to the nature of 3D Sonic games. Although the camera trails behind you automatically, if you see the need to get a better view of what's around you, you do have the option of controlling it manually. Simply use the D-Pad to move left and right, or press Up to center your view to the direction Jett is facing. What's great about this setup is its lack of complexity. This is something a lot of age groups can get used to and master as time goes on, and I was pleased that nothing felt gimmicky or "extra".
On his adventure, Jett will be able to make use of other gadgets to help him on his quest. The very first real stage to follow the intro island will present you with the ability to make use of a jetpack. You'll be able to hover over dangers and reach far-off platforms by means of this special equipment. You activate it simply by pressing and holding the A Button after a jump. In order to refuel, guide Jett to one of the yellow, circular stations and shake the Wii Remote rapidly to fill up the tank icon located on the bottom-right of the screen. You'll also have limited access to a jet boat, a paraglider and a rocket-powered snowboard in select levels. These all serve their individual purposes and you're bound to find these segments nice variations of running around all the time.
The level structure borrows elements from other platformers and adventure titles to make for an experience that may not be out of the ordinary, but definitely not boring either. Your goal in each level is to reach a generator, which brings each stage to a conclusion. Puzzle incorporation takes a greater role as you reach later levels, and you'll find yourself carrying bombs to break open crystallized barriers, or speaking to drones to solve additional puzzles. Blue solar cells will turn up everywhere you go, and collecting these will not only go towards your overall completion, but also allow you to access new hubs later on. Some of these are well-hidden in X-marked spots on the ground, or in hard-to-reach areas, requiring players to explore a great deal if they hope to collect them all. Although some levels may take 5 minutes or more to complete, I was happy that there were no in-between checkpoints to make the game easier.
The enemies in the game have a good sense of intelligence, and some of these will welcome you with a hostile reception. There are propeller-equipped robots, mechanical creatures that fear missiles, and territorial ground-dwellers that will attack when you get close. You'll also encounter electricity-based traps that will force players to exercise good timing and judgment if they hope to get past these. At the start of the game, Jett will have 3 hearts and 3 lives. Hearts represent the number of hits you can sustain before you lose a life, and of course, losing all your lives will result in a Game Over. But don't worry, each level has hidden Extralife capsules and hearts that will help you get through unscathed. The first few stages should present relatively little trouble to you, but as you press forward, you'll notice the game pick up in terms of challenge.
There are three different worlds you'll travel to over the course of the game. There's Atoll, your obligatory oceanside paradise; Northpole, featuring ice-capped mountains and freezing temperatures; and Swamps, a wetland area with dilapidated structures and a futuristic element to it. Each level contains multiple areas to explore, one of which concludes in a simple boss fight. Clearing all stages will unlock the final warphole, which will transport you to an arena where you'll confront the final boss in the game. Most stages feel fairly different from one another, despite the similar atmospheres. For instance, some stages will feature different environment effects such as nightfall, or at times, you'll encounter metallic enemy bases that are situated at the heart of a level. These kinds of occasions help make the game feel more varied, and less of a "clear one, seen them all" sort of deal.
If you've seen the videos for this game, it goes without saying that the graphics in this game are truly stunning! A good sense of lighting, well-designed character models and a great sense of depth are just some of the many pieces of commendation that you can assign to this game. The environments look rather beautiful, and the level design is very good as well. The audio work is also fantastic. Music in this game continues with the vibes that existed in Art of Balance, except a bit more refined. Either way, you'll be drawn into the soothing tracks, as well as the realistic sound effects. There's even a sample of voice acting included, which adds an extra touch to an already-impressive game.
What may bring down the impressiveness for some is the presence of glitches. If you do happen to pop up, the resulting effects I experienced during my playthrough were never terrible. Although they certainly occur infrequently, some may have high expectations and may naturally not be as impressed as a whole. The camera in the game can sometimes be a bit of an issue, but then again, this is something that has plagued many games of a similar nature. Thankfully, the camera never sinks to a low that would match what's seen in a few Sonic games from the Gamecube era.
Clearing all of the levels took me less than 5 hours, which is more than I can say for other WiiWare games. Even after you beat the final boss, you still have a Gallery to fill, and multiple pages of Awards to complete. Simple tasks like completing a level without losing a heart, or not attacking an enemy certainly help give the game more replayability, albeit this kind of stuff likely only appeals to completionists. What bothered me most was, not the somewhat-short length, but the ridiculously-obvious speed run potential. Some achievements even required you to complete levels within a certain time limit, and I kept thinking to myself that this could've been extended further into something that would keep people coming back. Naturally, having a Time Attack equivalent would've offered much more replay value for the average player, and this is something I really, really want to see executed in Jett Rocket 2.
If you do your homework, you'll uncover that Jett Rocket was two years in the making and it really shows! Take your time with this, and be sure to marvel at the beauty and the enormous amount of love Shin'en Games put into this. Regardless of its length, the glitches you may experience, or how familiar it may seem, definitely spend the $10 on this thoroughly enjoyable experience. With a focus set on being a truly fun game for just about anyone, Jett Rocket has not only knocked LostWinds off its high horse in almost every way, but it's an easy contender for the best WiiWare game of the year. A truly brilliant game that's totally worth playing through.
28/30 - Excellent
Gameplay 10/10 - Great level design, puzzles and other segments for variety, controls are easy to understand, boss fights, lots of admirable qualities
Presentation 9/10 - Amazing visuals, environments show a sense of detail and depth, great music, glitches bring down impressiveness a tad
Enjoyment 5/5 - May not be as challenging as other games but it's still a lot of fun, rare bouts of frustration to be experienced
Extra Content 4/5 - Good length for $10, awards to strive for to extend the experience, would like to see a greater speed run focus next time
Equivalent to a score of 93% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)