Jett Rocket Review
The 3D platformer was a thing of beauty in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. Titles such as Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, Donkey Kong 64, and Conker’s Bad Fur Day were excellent in the execution of 3D platforming, giving gamers vast worlds to explore, collectibles strewn across each level, and inventive platforming gameplay. Jett Rocket on WiiWare plays to the beat of titles such as the aforementioned, but it also borrows elements from titles such as Ratchet and Clank and Sly Cooper. The result: A great throwback to 3D platforming that still has its own level of charm.
Players assume the role of Jett, an adventurer in charge of making sure that the planet of Yoroppa is clean and safe. Jett soon learns from his talking dolphin pal that an organization known as the Power Plant Posse is slowly stealing the planet’s energy. It doesn’t take long for Jett to set out after the PPP, and thus begins our story. Definitely not a tale for the ages, but it serves its purpose of starting the quest.
If you’ve ever played 3D platformers such as Banjo-Kazooie or Ratchet and Clank, Jett Rocket’s gameplay will seem instantly familiar. You are placed on a large level, and it is your job to reach the goal, collecting Solar Cells to unlock new worlds, defeating enemies, and taking on bosses as you progress. And while this title does borrow platforming elements from older titles, it still presents a fresh take on the genre.
At the heart of Jett Rocket lies clever platforming that is an engaging experience. Jett clears large chasms by jumping across pillars with his jetpack, along with traveling across small distances. A number of power-ups are added to keep the game from ever growing dull. Jett can utilize parachutes to glide across large gaps, bombs to take out enemies and solve puzzles, and other such gadgets. Nothing out of the ordinary to be honest.
However, it isn’t all enthralling platforming and cool gizmos. Jett Rocket comes with a few issues that don’t detract from the experience too much, but are definitely a presentable problem in the long run. The first is the game’s camera, which is as problematic as the camera was in older 3D platformers. At times, the camera works well; but there are moments when it gets stuck at certain angles, making it hard to navigate across a level. This can lead to multiple falls from the same ledge, useless head-tilting on your part, and minor frustration.
Another issue with Jett Rocket is the game’s length. You’ll easily get through the entire thing in just under four hours. You can go back to each stage and collect every Solar Cell, and the game features a good number of achievement-like tasks such as clearing a level in an allotted amount of time or finding 10 hidden objects, but even then this only makes the entire package a five-hour experience. Platformers on the Nintendo 64 were sometimes twice as long as Jett Rocket. It would have been nice to see twice as many levels, an extra mode such as time attack, or even some side quests.
Graphically, Jett Rocket features colorful visuals and smooth textures. There’s the occasional blurry line or texture here and there, but overall, this title looks fine. Each of the game’s wonderfully-designed stages features a vast color palette, great lighting, and a few nice visual effects. In terms of sound, the game has a soundtrack that isn’t too catchy but gets the job done. There are a handful of generic themes, but the tracks in the game sound delightful for the most part.
Jett Rocket is the type of game that platform fans will enjoy. It draws inspiration from some of the best games in the genre, but it still manages to exude its own appeal and unique charm. Though this is only a four-hour game, it does feature a nice level of challenge that will have you alert and keep you from ever getting bored. The game’s camera is the biggest problem here, but if you’re a fan of Nintendo 64-era platformers, you’ll know what to expect.
At 1,000 Wii Points ($10), Jett Rocket’s price seems a little steep, but it’s a worthwhile adventure for anyone who can appreciate a solid platformer. Here’s hoping Jett Rocket 2 can expand greatly on the awesome formula set forth by Shin’en’s first Jett Rocket game.