I have been fortunate enough to get my hands on Jett Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai for the Nintendo 3DS, sequel to arguably one of the best and well received independent titles on the Wii’s WiiWare service. The original Jett Rocket, was so slick and stylized that some individuals were even comparing it to Super Mario Galaxy – one of the most, if not THE, most beautiful and inspired titles on the original Wii.
Downloading this game into my library, I was extremely excited, awaiting the emotions I felt when playing the original game to resurface. I admit my expectations were high considering my great enjoyment of the first Jett Rocket. This review will go over all of the things I liked and did not like compared to the original. My verdict will incorporate my thoughts about this title aside from my thoughts about the first installment.
Story & Concept
In Jett Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai, main character Jett, a planetary inspector assigned to save Yoroppa, Earth-like planet in the original Jett Rocket from pollution and destruction by the Power Plant Posse, returns to take revenge on his arch rival, Kaiser Takai. In the sequel, Jett has taken to the home planet of the Power Plant Posse in another platforming adventure. Jett uses a mixture of traditional platforming and his trusty jet pack to traverse the area and complete objectives. The story isn’t very fleshed out and in depth. The bulk of this adventure, such is the case in most platformers, is in the overall gameplay mechanics and various stages triumphed to reach your final destination.
One of the very first things I noticed when I entered game mode was that Jett’s animations were a little awkward and he’s a lot more clunky and slow than I remember him being in the original. I’m not certain if this is a style choice on behalf of the wonderful people at Shin’en, but I didn’t particularly like it. The platforming isn’t as tight as I’d like it, sometimes making it a bit awkward for me when jumping and getting from one area to the next, though I admit I’m kind of terrible at platformers at times. The jet pack that Jett is famous for is limited and not used as often as it was in the original (you have a usage limit per “lift”). That was actually kind of a downer for me because I thought the jet packing in the original was genius and I loved the “strike down” move you could do in mid-air. In Jett Rocket II, the effort that Shin’en put into the platforming was ambitious, but not fully realized. Switching from 2D sidescrolling fun to 3D “open world” seems like it’d give the game variety, but it misses the mark for me. As far as the controls are concerned, when I got used to them they felt a bit more natural. The further I delved into the game, the more I enjoyed the experience.
Graphics & Audio
Aside from the issues that I had early on, the game itself is very beautiful on the Nintendo 3DS screen. The stereoscopic 3D adds a nice sense of depth. This isn’t very surprising. Shin’en is one of the few developers that fully understand Nintendo hardware and utilizes it to the fullest even on a modest budget. As stated above, the original Jett Rocket looked fantastic given the original Wii’s space limit for downloadable games. Jett Rocket II uses different perspectives from 2D to 3D flawlessly. The different perspectives attempt to keep the game fresh and holds the attention of a person who has self diagnosed themselves with attention deficit disorder. The audio on the other hand is a bit forgettable. If you’re the type of gamer that prefers a good soundtrack, don’t look for it in this game. The music isn’t terrible, it made me move a bit while playing, but it’s not as atmospheric as the original Jett Rocket. The tunes will make you thump your fingers against your 3DS, but once you turn the game off, they’re gone from memory.
Jett Rocket II has some replay value if you’re a collector that likes to unlock secret items. I spent a great deal of my time collecting solar cells (in-game currency) to obtain goodies in the mini game area for hearts, extra lives, etc. There is also a gallery in the game. Gather photos scattered about the land and add them to your album. Games features are stated below:
– Over 30 stages, boss fights bonus levels and minigames
– Use your JettPak, JettBoat, JettMover, JettUfo & JettDive to get through
– Super-smooth 60 frames/sec (Shin’en invested several months into their engine to make this possible on the 3DS!)
– Full stereoscopic 3D (also at 60fps)
– Collect Solarcells and spend them in several Minigames for extra Lifes- and Hearts
– There are hidden Bonus Levels and hidden passages in the stages!
– There are 24 Photos spread over the world. If you collect them all the “Bonus Attack” mode is unlocked for hiscore hunting.
– You can unlock the “Mirror World” by beating the game for the first time.
– Only ~70MB download size, approx 560 blocks.(Shin’en took the challenge not to waste your valueable SD card space!)
This is the ultimate challenge after beating the game. You get back to the game world
with new twists and new objectives. Changed Puzzles and different passages will give
you tons of new fun after completing the game for the first time.
If you’re really into platformers and love Jett Rocket himself as a character, I’d recommend buying this game for something extra to add to your game collection. Also, Shin’en is having a Spring sale at this very moment on the Nintendo 3DS/Wii U eShop until April 10th.
I really pains me to say this as I am an avid follower and fan of Shin’en Multimedia, but Jett Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai is vastly underwhelming compared to its predecessor. Even if I were to judge this game on its own merit without comparing it to the original, I’d honestly give it the same score. Jet Rocket II isn’t a bad game by any means, but it doesn’t measure up to the quality that I am accustomed to receiving from Shin’en. However, if you want just a “fun” and “good”, but not “great” game, it’s worth the purchase. Just understand that this games doesn’t reinvent the wheel.
Jett Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai is currently available to download on the Nintendo eShop for $6.70 (regular price is $8.99). Shin’en is currently hosting a Spring sale on Jett Rocket II, Nano Assault EX, and Art of Balance TOUCH! on the Nintendo 3DS eShop until April 10th.