Friday, October 15, 2010

Review: Jett Rocket

Game Title: Jett Rocket
Developer: Shin’en Multimedia
(Nanostray, Fun! Fun! Minigolf, Art of Balance)
Platform: WiiWare
Price: 1000 Wii Points ($10)

In the past generation, platformers have for the most part disappeared from the mainstream in favor of first and third-person shooters, but the Wii is starting to appear to be the place for 3D platformers to shine. Shin’en Multimedia has not only brought a unique 3D platformer to the WIi but also brought it through WiiWare. With the size limitations inherent to WiiWare, does Jett Rocket even compare to the retail games currently available?

Jett Rocket stars who else but Jett Rocket, the protector of the planet from all evil that resides in space. In his swift introduction, he is attacked by the PPP, a group of evil robots bent on polluting the world. We do not really see the pollution around in the worlds, but their metallic existence in the otherwise naturalistic worlds is bad enough. Either way, the game’s plot is paper thin, but we don’t care about that. It’s the game that counts.

Wait, this is a WiiWare title?

From a basic viewpoint, Jett Rocket is every bit as much of a 3D platformer as any. In each level, players have but one apparent goal: to destroy the generator located at the end of the level. In order to get there, you’ll have to climb platforms, natural or otherwise, move electrical panels or other devices, and occasionally destroy the invading robot forces along the way. What you might not realize early on is that in order to get into the later worlds in the game, you must also spend your time in each level collecting energy cells which are scattered throughout the world. This gives the game a bit more exploration and lengthens the game up, but on occasion it hints of a “collect-a-thon.”

Attacking enemies in this game is waggle-based. By shaking the Remote, Jett dash attacks forward, and in the air, he dives to the ground or toward a locked-on target. Motion waggle is also needed for throwing bombs and moving certain platform lifts. On occasion, the game might miss a waggle motion, but it works for the most part. Most of the enemies are pushovers, anyways, so a mistake in motion sensing will not kill Jett that easily.

Some levels are extremely enemy-dense, so expect to shake that Remote a lot!

Jett has another special trick up his sleeve: his jetpack. The jetpack is a chargeable ability which allows players to slightly increase the height of their jumps or lengthen their time in the air. This FLUDD-like jump-assistor adds more platforming situations than it dissolves, though it seems the jetpack could have been a little less of a gas guzzler. A number of times I found myself having to walk back to a charge station far away only to make a mistake and retry it all over again. However, the frustration was outweighed by the satisfaction earned when exploring the levels with the jetpack.

The game also gives Jett a number of vehicles to use in order to traverse the worlds. Early on, there is a level that has no platforming, only a jetski segment, but thankfully the other vehicles are integrated into the levels rather than entire stages. The controls of some of the vehicles range from decent to cumbersome, and glitches tend to arrive mostly when these vehicles are in use, as well. For example, in one level, a hoverboard vehicle rotates too sharply, and the camera cannot keep up. It is a shame, because they do add a little bit more to the game than just running around with a jetpack.

There are plenty of objects to control beyond Jett, but not necessarily as fun.

Now, you can hear all the complaints I have made and think the game is fairly unwieldy or something like that, but the game is actually quite fun. The graphics are extremely well-polished to the point that some retail games are shaking in their polygonal boots, and the game’s framerate is a solid 60 frames per second. The music is also a delight to hear and is surprisingly diverse considering the size requirements for WiiWare titles. As for the gameplay itself, running around the levels and facing platform puzzle elements may feel like they came from Mario Galaxy on occasion, but I found that to be more a pro than a con.

Jett Rocket’s flaws that stuck out the most, however, were the game’s overall length and the lack of checkpoints. The game is fairly short. It took me about four hours to complete the adventure the first time through, but if players want to get 100% completion, they will have to complete a collection of achievements over the course of the game. Even so, the adventure is not a retail game’s length. When it comes to checkpoints, there are none, save the three instances before fighting bosses. In the later two worlds, some levels run quite long, but healing is hard to come by. If you die, you have to collect the cells and such all over again, from the beginning of the level. It would have been good to have at least a checkpoint system at the later levels, but the game is nice enough that repeating a level a couple times will not tire players much.


Jett Rocket can best be described as the first half (or third) of a great 3D platformer for the Wii. Its graphics are comparable to many retail titles for the Wii, and its music is also a pleasure to hear. The game is a bit short, but it is acceptable for the price. The game’s exploration and atmosphere make it more than a generic adventure, and it has enough content to stand out among the rest.

For $10, Jett Rocket establishes a genre unattained on WiiWare, and at the same time, it offers a comparable 3D platforming experience to games many times its price. Recommended.

Disclaimer: WiiWare titles are downloadable on Wiis through the Wii Shop Channel using Wii Points. Wii Points are obtained through either Nintendo Points Cards or Credit Card usage. A Wii downloading the game must be capable of connecting to the Internet in order to purchase and download the game.

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