Tuesday, July 19, 2016

JumpJet Rex Review (XONE)

JumpJet Rex is a 2D platformer that hits a perfect combination of a weird concept and fun gameplay that managed to hook me where so many other 2D indie platformers have failed.  I like sci-fi stuff.  I like dinosaurs.  Strap some jump jets onto a T-Rex in space and you’ve got a stew going, which is exactly what JumpJet Rex does.  It has fantastic controls, a good art style, and most importantly, it’s actually a lot of fun to play.  JumpJet Rex rocks.

Game Details

  • Publisher: LOOT Interactive
  • Developer: TreeFortress Games
  • ESRB Rating: “E” for Everyone
  • Genre: 2D Platformer
  • Pros: Cool concept; unique and fun gameplay; lots to do
  • Cons: Slow progression
  • MSRP: $10

JumpJet Rex is available in a $20 bundle with two other LOOT Interactive games – Q*bert Rebooted and Electronic Super Joy - but since those two games are pretty awful I recommend just buying JumpJet Rex by itself for $10 instead. 

JumpJet Rex has a story about stopping an asteroid from destroying Earth, or something, but who cares!  You’re a T-Rex with jump jets strapped to your legs.  Go do awesome stuff.  Well, by “awesome stuff” really all you’re doing is navigating levels and passing through rings and hitting switches to open up the exit, but it feels pretty awesome while you’re doing it.

The controls in JumpJet Rex are actually really simple, but that is a bit part of why it is so appealing.  Essentially, you’re just tapping the “A” button a lot as it gives you an infinite number of little jump jet puffs that allow you to jump and fly over and around obstacles.  Another button gives you a rapid horizontal dash, which is useful for darting through doors or energy fields.  And yet another button gives you a fast vertical dash.  By combining all of your movement abilities you can easily get through each of the increasingly difficult levels to reach the end.  You also have a simple spin attack if there are any enemies around, but you generally only have to use it for the occasional boss fight.  This is a game about platforming first and foremost.

The game feels really, really good to play.  Being able to just jump jet around pretty much without any limits is a ton of fun.  The level designs are also very well done and continue to get better and more interesting as the game goes on.  My only complaint is that, while I do find the gameplay fun and the levels well constructed, I’m not really happy with the progression system that occasionally requires you to return to previous levels to earn extra stars to open up the next set of new levels.  I had a good time with the game, but it isn’t like it is spectacular enough I want to play each level multiple times.  I’m pretty satisfied just seeing everything once or twice, thank you very much.

That issue aside, JumpJet Rex has a lot to offer.  There are hidden items scattered all over as well as customization options you can buy to make your T-Rex look however you want, which is cool.  You can also play the game in co-op, which is pretty darn fun as well.  It only takes 3-4 hours to play through everything and see it all, but it is a lot of fun.

The presentation is nice overall, starting with the cartoonish design of the friendly T-Rex that is the main character.  It just looks fun and happy right away.  The in-game graphics are 16-bit-style and look quite good.  The sound is also pretty awesome with some great retro tunes making up the soundtrack.

All in all, JumpJet Rex is a nice surprise.  It isn’t a typical indie 2D platformer that just wants to be as difficult as possible.  And it doesn’t rely exclusively on its quirky concept to win you over.  It actually plays really, really well and is accessible for gamers of all skill levels, not just hardcore retro gaming snobs.  For a fun, great looking and sounding, and overall well put together game in both solo play and co-op, JumpJet Rex is a great buy at just $10.  Give it a shot.