PAX East 2012: Joe Danger the Movie preview

It’s pretty remarkable what a small, dedicated development team can do.  Case in point — Hello Games, a team consisting of four members, cranked out Joe Danger in 2010 for PlayStation Network.  It was a game that paid fitting tribute to the old days of Excitebike while, at the same time, generated excitement with a stunt system similar to Trials HD.  It was all packed into an interface that was fun for all ages.  A year later, the game found even more success on Xbox Live Arcade, complete with a slew of new content and online leaderboards to mess around with.

Now fast forward to 2012, where the six-person team (yes, it expanded by two last year) has put together the sequel Joe Danger: the Movie.  Due to release sometime this year on unspecified platforms (Xbox Live and PlayStation Network are just guesses, because that’s where the original game went), the game introduces a number of new challenges for the legendary stunt rider to take on.  And this time around, he isn’t just limited to a motorcycle.

For The Movie, Joe Danger is breaking into Hollywood and trying to prove his mettle as an up-and-coming stuntman.  He’ll find himself implanted in a number of familiar scenarios lifted from popular films, including a mine cart race that’s inspired by the Indiana Jones film, a spy run that rekindles memories of the old James Bond flick For Your Eyes Only, and jet-pack powered levels where he’ll fly around like a pro.

Like the original game, Joe Danger: the Movie has a reliance on performing stunts for points, while at the same time keeping the lead time on an event and occasionally collecting stuff, such as stars that seem just outside of reach (until you figure out how to access them) and the letters “D-A-N-G-E-R," which can earn you new collectibles.  However, how you complete these objectives depends on how quickly you can adapt to each vehicle — which, fortunately, is a pretty user-friendly process.

The controls react about the same way as the original game, as you can flip your vehicles, jump with ease, duck incoming objects, and maneuver around upward and downward on multiple tracks, should you need to dodge walls and barriers.  They’re very reactive, and you can perform stunts as well, adding even more points as you show off like a true pro.

Competition plays a huge part in Joe Danger: the Movie, as you’ll be able to rack up a high score and not only share it through global leaderboards, but also through a recorded ghost player that can be challenged at any time.  You’ll see a faint image of your friends as they race around on the same track as you do, so you’ll be able to surmise a strategy based on how they perform. 

Joe Danger: the Movie looks quite pleasant with its variety of stage designs.  The mine cart stage, for example, is a lot of fun, with plenty of dusty caverns to ride through and high speed thrills.  The skiing stage is great as well, as you jump off mountains and onto launch pads to prevent missiles from taking off into the sky.  The lighting effects are notable, especially the explosions that go off when you successfully complete a stunt.

For a small independent project, Joe Danger: the Movie is looking just as appealing as the original game, and, in some ways, even better.  We’re eager to see when Hello Games plots its release, just for the sake of running through it and collecting everything.  We’ll let you know when it’s officially given a debut date.