The lights are on
Joe Danger is a 2D platforming game on a motorcycle. There are two main ways to play: go through a career mode or create your own levels.
The single player career mode that takes you through a series of increasingly tough challenges in the hopes of completing a comeback tour. To make progress, you need complete enough challenges-earning stars-to unlock new levels, which generally culminate in a race that you must win to unlock the next stage.
You are allowed to make progress without completing all the challenges. For instance, if you need two stars, you can find the hidden stars and hit all the targets, while leaving the time challenge and collecting the mini-stars for another attempt. The stars carry over to all levels, so you can try stocking up on the easier challenges.
Although the gameplay is 2D, there are three planes, much like in Little Big Planet. Many levels require you to switch lanes, including ramps that take you loop-de-loop style from one to another.
The game is really enjoyable to play, especially for those who enjoy time trials in racing games. The boosting system is clever, where you can boost when the meter is full. But to fill the meter, you can do any tricks (with the wheelie being a great method).
To get the most out of the game, you need to replay the same levels many times. When the challenges get tough towards the end, the trial and error nature of the game can be frustrating. However, I agree with other reviews that commend the checkpoint/instant restart system. I don't think I'd replay a section several dozen times to complete a challenge without it.
My favorite part of the came is actually the create a level section. Although it's insanely limited compared to something like LBP, there are enough tools to make a cool level without being overwhelming. I've published and uploaded two levels so far: one has a bunch of springs and the other more big air focused with ramps and buses.
I'm very happy with Joe Danger. The controls are very precise and the gameplay is fun, albeit frustrating at times since the game forces you to be fairly precise. It looks sharp and has a uniform aesthetic, with the sound effects and music complementing the cartoony look. Aside from having more traditional racing style courses and a more non-linear career mode, Joe Danger does things right for a new IP.
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