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Jett Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai Review

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On 11/21/2013 at 12:00 PM by Nick DiMola

Releasing this game between the launch of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and right before Mario and Zelda was probably a mistake.

For platformer fans looking for a game to kill a few hours with.

If you know the company, Shin’en, it’s likely that you associate them with their well-crafted shooters, and not the platforming genre. But back on the Wii, the team charted into these new grounds with Jett Rocket. The WiiWare title was a decent attempt at a 3D platformer that now has a follow-up on the 3DS eShop. Jett Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai takes a slightly different approach, blending both 2D and 3D platforming, while working in an assortment of mini-games to break up the fifteen core levels. The brief experience is enjoyable at times, but more frequently blasé, being outclassed by other titles in both variants of the platforming genre.

Part of my frustration with the game is its extremely slow pacing. Unlike most of the popular platformers out there, you won’t be zipping about, avoiding enemies and exercising your precision skills. Rather, you’ll plod along, never gaining momentum, and rarely facing any sort of raw platforming challenge. If anything, Jett Rocket II places a much stronger focus on exploration, which is how you’ll spend most of your time in the game.

Of course, the exploration is nothing earth-shattering. There are a number of different power-ups you can acquire, each of which has a limited number of uses. You can deploy these abilities, like the rocket pack or the floating platform, on command to progress, but savvy players will also use them to uncover the secret areas in each level. Most are hidden or hinted at in plain sight, so if you have any experience at all in the genre, you’ll likely discover them with great ease. Regardless, most of what I enjoyed about Jett Rocket II was searching out these areas and collecting the gallery photos contained therein.

Outside of the exploration, players are left with a mostly clunky experience. For example, jumping on enemies, a staple of the platforming genre is a no-no – unless you execute the roll attack while you’re in the air. It’s awkward and takes some getting used to and seems like an unnecessary step. Furthermore, the move is most often used as a double jump to gain extra height, but it’s not executed by hitting the jump button a second time – you need to hit the attack button after the jump button. Ultimately, these are just minor quibbles that play into the learning curve, but I think it paints a pretty clear picture of the game at large. None of it is broken, but it seems like it all could’ve been refined.

Another strange attribute of the game is the sterile feeling of the environments. I’m not quite sure what engenders the feeling, perhaps the levels don’t feature enough enemies or there’s not enough visual flair, but something always felt off. Truth be told, Jett Rocket II doesn’t have much personality, despite offering a few gorgeous locales. An opening cinematic sets the stage for a Sonic the Hedgehog-like quest, but after that there’s not even so much as a scripted event to build some sort of emotional rapport with the protagonist.

The core gameplay does offer a nice variety of experiences despite its flaws. With some levels in 2D and others in 3D, or even 3D with a fixed camera (think Super Mario 3D Land), Jett Rocket II has all bases covered. With two to three hours of content for the main quest, and an extra mode that’s unlocked after completion offering a similar amount, there’s certainly no shortage of gameplay for this downloadable affair.

I don’t think I could sum up Jett Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai without saying how thoroughly middle-of-the-road it is. It’s not a great 2D or 3D platformer, despite being perfectly serviceable. If you’re the type of gamer who can devour a platformer like me, Jett Rocket II is likely to come and go very quickly without leaving much of an imprint on your memory. At $9 you can’t really go wrong, just don’t expect too much.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



Jamie Alston Staff Writer

11/21/2013 at 01:03 PM

Sounds like I should probably pass this one up if it ever gets released as a "reward" on Club Nintendo. I'd hate to waste my points.


11/21/2013 at 10:50 PM

I thought Shin'en just came out of cryostasis every time Nintendo released a new handheld to make a great shmup or two. I'm surprised, though, that there isn't more action in this one, considering what their other games are like. Hopefully it's a stepping stone to a better, more diversified Shin'en...that maintains its shmup quality.

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