Is Joe Danger 2: The Movie good enough to backflip onto our TV screens?
Some games are just positively smile inducing, even during the times when you're a wee bit frustrated at your inability to complete a level. That describes Joe Danger: The Movie quite wonderfully well. On the surface, it might look like a more charming and colourful version of the Trials HD series of games but in reality, the game owes just as much to Sonic the Hedgehog as it does any dirt bike racing game.
There's a fantastic sense of humour behind Joe Danger's daring escapades and it shines through within moments of loading the game. Each section of levels across the six acts follows a certain movie based theme. Echoes of classic film titles emerge thanks to the likes of Joe vs Volcano, Dr Snow, Timed Cop and Total Freefall. It's this attention of detail that continues throughout the game. A wide variety of different level types and objectives ensure there's always something different to do to progress to the next level.
Vibrant and cute are the best words to describe Joe Danger’s gorgeous aesthetics
Various different vehicles are available to control, such as a mine cart, motorbike or set of skis. The controls might be the same but it's the way in which such vehicles fit into the theme of an act that somehow makes it more thrilling. My favourite of all vehicles was that of the jetpack. These tended to be slower paced than in motor vehicles, requiring more skill than speed through the level. At times though, it was never any less challenging, as the jetpack levels frequently required careful use of the thrust button to avoid spikes and alarms.
Indeed, the levels available are frequently rather challenging, especially when trying to complete all the objectives in order to acquire more stars. I'll admit this now, my reactions have failed me miserably on more than one occasion ensuring that I've been slow to finish Joe Danger: The Movie. That challenge has merely motivated me all the more to persevere, rather than infuriated which is always a great sign.
These objectives are what makes Joe Danger: The Movie feel so varied. Like some of the best platformers, it encourages you to replay levels just to complete everything possible, rather than simply speed your way through the stage. Objectives can be as simple as collecting all the stars in a level (which is often far from easy) to finding hidden bananas, beating time limits or collecting all of the Danger letters scattered around the area. Movie based objectives such as stopping a nuclear launch, avoiding any alarms going off or beating up a trail of monkeys are also possible. It sounds absolutely bonkers at times and that's because, often, it is.
An example of the cupcake cup. Who hasn’t wanted to ride a giant cupcake, after all?
It might feel like speed is of the essence at all times but it entirely depends on the objectives list. Often, it was only essential when dealing with an avalanche or boulder chasing after Joe and a flurry of barriers to jump or duck under with a quick tap of the X button. However, there's always a constant sense of speed even when it's not needed, mostly thanks to the short length of each level. The use of a boost button also encourages this with this increased through the completion of tricks. Certain levels require startlingly fast reactions as players find themselves having to complete an array of tricks (activated with the lb and rb buttons) in a short space of time in order to build up sufficient boost to outrun something. It sounds alarming but there's a sufficient learning curve to Joe Danger: The Movie that ensures you'll rarely feel out of depth. It's just a matter of timing and fast reflexes.
Those looking for more to do than solely the Movie mode, can throw themselves into the deleted scenes section. Indeed, this is required to unlock certain parts of the Movie mode, but it's worth delving into for more than just that reason. Significantly more challenging than the Movie mode, players have 6 cups to progress through ranging from the Cupcake cup to the Roboto cup and Dino cup. The clue is in the name here so it's a highly enjoyable yet very challenging diversion. While the Movie mode feels a touch easier than the Trials HD series, deleted scenes makes up for it with aplomb.
More value for money comes in the form of the online functionality, and also some hefty disappointment. Much like the original, there's still no online multiplayer. Instead, players are provided with 4 player local multiplayer. It's fantastic fun, of course, but it's still not what we wanted. Competition oozes out of everything else though with players able to ride alongside the 'ghosts' of their online friends, as well as easily check their scores and times. There's also the useful statistic of viewing what percentage of players are faster or slower than you, which is a handy guide. This asynchronous multiplayer makes up for the lack of online competition but only just.
Hours could be easily spent enjoying the level editor and creating some fantastic levels
Back to brighter things and the hugely comprehensive level editor is inspired. At the pre-release stage I played Joe Danger: The Movie, there was only a small selection of player created levels but the ones that were there were pretty special. A selection of tutorials guide players through how to create such set ups but expect to put plenty of time into it to truly conjure up something wonderful. The choice is almost overwhelmingly huge.
JOE DANGER 2: THE MOVIE VERDICT
Bundled together and it’s clear why Joe Danger: The Movie is such a great purchase. There’s the disappointment of no online multiplayer again, yes, but even amongst the occasional frustration and swear words as you try for yet another attempt at completing a level, you’ll be keen to see what else is on offer here.