A gamer and writer at heart who wants to combine his hobbies into one. I am 25 years old and I'm from the Netherlands. Having played many games over the years, I wanted to express my love for them, however obscure they may be!
Not a lot to say here other than that I’m highly familiar with 2D platformers. As usual, I will not directly compare it to its competitors, but I might address how good- or bad the platforming mechanics are to how I want them to be. Before writing this review, I have obtained every achievement which includes: playing a mode where you can’t die more than once (though I did use an exploit for later levels), speedrunning the entire game and of course finding every collectable in the normal mode. I initially played the game on normal difficulty, but I did try out easy mode as well. I gave co-op a shot… alone since I literally have no one nearby who wants to play JumpJet Rex with good ol’ Neppy, so I won’t address despite being one of the selling points of the game. The version I’ve played is the Steam version, but it is also available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Not the Nintendo Switch yet though, which it would totally fit on.
What can I say about JumpJet Rex? Not a lot really now that I think about it. I had it on my wishlist for quite some time but never really made the decision to buy it, but eventually I did! I had no reason to not buy it initially over other games; I just wasn’t really in the mood to play another indie 2D platformer game I guess? Then I took a look at my Steam library, said ”nope” and activated a random generator. This might all sound negative but don’t worry, this is how I select what games I play very often. And here’s a small spoiler alert: I’m all but negative.
Since when were dinosaurs so agile?
I might as well start this review off strong and say that our cute boy Rex here? He controls very, very well. No kidding here; Rex is a total blast to control. He requires a lot of aerial movement as his main selling points aren’t those small legs of his, but the rocket boots attached to them. With it, he can do small consecutive jumps, boost forwards at high speed and rocket upwards indefinitely until the invisible ceiling tells you to know your place. He can stay in the air forever without having to worry about fuel or anything, so it’s less of a platformer and more of a flight simulator I guess. But best of all, you have full control over Rex at all time and have the ability to cancel any movements like boosting at any given time. This means that however tight a corridor might be, or however many insta-kill objects there are in your way, Rex can overcome them with enough skill from the player. If you die well… then that’s not the game’s fault. Rex can also do a bit of combat against his enemies, though hand-to-hand fighting was never his strongest asset. You have to be very close for his attacks to land, and you can easily kill yourself while trying to do so. Fortunately boosting leaves out some form of fiery burst in the opposite direction which I used far more than the kick attack. This burst can also be used to hit switches- or rings, of which the latter are mandatory to finish the stage. Every stage has a numbered amount of rings you have to go through before the finish line opens, which means you can’t go straight for the end and call it a day. That’s something I’ll come back to later when talking about the levels themselves. But yeah, Rex is a joy to control and made playing this game a lot more fun as a result. And it’s not just Rex that you’re able to play as! Well that’s a lie actually since it’s just Rex, but he has an enormous collection of skins to buy in-game. Don’t you want to beat this game as JumpJet Mudkipz? …I have no idea how they could get away with making skins of other gaming characters which are so on-point that it makes them look like that actual character but I’ll just accept it generously. The amount of skin colours, different heads and shoes, and even the colour your rocket boots use to fly is pretty big overall, and you can mix them however you like. It’s almost a deep character customization except that it’s all pre-selected, but this is not something I would have expected out of a simple 2D Indie game to say the least.
I had no idea there were this many planets in our solar system
Did you know Rex is actually a villain? He has to save planet earth from the meteor that’s going to obliterate all dinosaurs, but if he does then… doesn’t that mean we’ll never exist? What is this existential crisis??? But before he’s able to deal with this comet, he has to go through several other planets for… whatever reason. Never really understood the reasoning behind that, but it’s a game with a dinosaur travelling through space so I’ll leave it at that. There are quite a lot of them as well, most sharing a common theme like the elements of ice and nature which also makes me wonder why they weren’t on a singular planet but yet again, I’ll accept it for what it is. The logic doesn’t matter after all since the levels themselves are fun to go through. Most of them don’t last longer than a minute, some not even longer than half of that. This is a great decision on the developer’s part as these levels are made to be mastered by the player. Every level has a total of three objectives like not dying or finishing within a specified time. Because they are so short, you can play them over and over again if necessary until you’re able to finish all optional objectives. This structure makes it attractive to all sorts of gamers. If you’re a speedrunner, you can master every single stage and later on try out the speedrun mode to go through every level back-to-back as fast as you can. Though short notice, there are no leaderboards on Steam outside of within the game itself which is a bummer (even though the Steam page advertises it). Gamers who like to take as little hits or deaths as possible can also master their speciality and try out the ragequit mode, which only gives you three lives for the entire game. But it’s not just these special kind of gamers that get treated the way they deserve. Casual gamers can enjoy a fun collect-a-thon experience as it’s a very forgiving game with checkpoints, and progress you’ve made after dying is kept. This means that even with however well Rex handles and how tight corridors might be, you’re not punished hard for it if you’re just casually playing. Doing all the objectives isn’t even necessary to begin with, though I do recommend it. They’ve implemented the reward of doing all optional challenges pretty well, but I’ll let you find that out yourself. Stages also have coins in them, but these are completely optional and only used to buy more skins. Getting all of them in a stage in one go will put a gold border around it, but there’s not much else to it. Furthermore, there are secrets in stages as well which are-yet again-completely optional, but some of them are hidden pretty well so I had a good amount of fun finding them as well! Finally, each group of planets has a boss at the end that… starts with the Mega Man jingle when their health bar appears. I swear this game has no shame in taking assets. Regardless, what I like about the bosses is that there’s an easy way to quickly beat them, but there’s nothing stopping you from doing normal attacks against them. They can be pretty easy overall, or a little bit more challenging if you don’t take advantage of their hidden weak spots.
I had a really good time with JumpJet Rex, as my constant praises have probably already given you the impression. But honestly yeah, there is very little negative I can say about the game because it’s a very solid experience from start- to end. Rex is easily one of the better controlling main characters in games that pay homage to the 8-bit and 16-bit era. He’s not the best as combat but he can make spiky hallways not that scary, and not a lot of platforming heroes can say that. Furthermore, Rex can brag about how accessible he is to all kinds of gamers. The game is forgiving to casual players, and can be made difficult for people who want to try their hand at no-death runs. Levels compliment this accessibility, as they are short overall and can thus be easily replayed- or mastered by the player. There is a good amount of collectables and objectives as well but they’re completely optional, yet again enforcing accessibility. You’re probably tired of what word by now so let’s wrap it up. It’s not often that I give a random platformer indie game a high score like this, but I truly believe JumpJet Rex deserves that 8.5 out of 10!
- Good balance in difficulty.
- Controls are extremely smooth.
- A serious amount of collectables and outfits.
- Probably a bit too shameless in using other game assets.
I was considering that score for quite some time. Do I really give a small indie game like this an almost perfect score? But then again, my scores are not based on the quality of the game, but how much fun I had with it. I should probably edit my review chart later on to reflect that but eh, it will do for now. Good unknown indie games do deserve more reputation after all so see this as a way to promote the game I guess? Every random googler who opens this review, scrolls down and sees a 8.5 out of 10 must be like WOW THIS GAME IS AMAZING! I am not getting paid for this by the way. I do have a Paypal though, hint hint. Anyhow, for the next review… um, good question. I do have a game in mind I recently beat, but I think I need to play it again–or at least a bit more– to finish that one. Expect it somewhere next week though!
What is your favourite modern indie game inspired by classic games? Let me know down below or on Twitter/Discord!