The one thing that’s hard for a lot of game developers to do is make a fun game that will keep the gamer interested and having fun for weeks on end. Anymore, gamers have attention spans that can only be measured in nanoseconds (tell me from what movie that quote came from). Fortunately, the folks over at Hello Games struck gold with the release of their game Joe Danger.
Joe Danger is a downloadable game on the PSN that has you playing a dare devil that is trying to make a comeback after a wicked crash put him out of commission for a few years. So you are charged the task of getting him through his comeback career. One of the first things I noticed about JD is the look and feel of the game. The gameplay elements are those from a mix of Excitebike and Trials HD. If you are familiar with those two games then you will quickly know how to play this game.
For those of you that are uneducated in those two games, Joe Danger has you riding around in a dirt bike performing wacky and crazy stunts while trying to get to the finish line. Along the way, you will be charged with the task of completing certain objectives. For example, throughout each level, there are blue ministers for you to collect so during a lot of the races you need to collect all of them. You complete this task, you earn a medal. These challenges range from completing a race in so many seconds to completing a race with 100% combo each of them giving a different medal. At the end of, well I guess you can call them chapters; there is usually a race you have to unlock with the medals you earn.
It sounds really simplistic, and for the most part it is, but in the later levels there are more objectives to complete and the tracks get a lot harder. Luckily, and this was a huge selling point for me, there is no time limit hindering you. So if you have multiple objectives, you can pretty much take your time to ensure you do them all. The only one you can’t take your time with is the one where you have to complete the race in a certain amount of time. I absolutely love this. It lets me sit back and enjoy the nice, cartoony look of the game and appreciate all the hard work that was obviously put into Joe Danger.
Starting out, however, I was really scared that I would hate this game. When I first booted it up, I was looking around the menus and saw that there was no option to see the control layout. So, while cursing under my breath, I started the first chapter of the single player campaign and hoped that a loading screen would tell me how to at the very least accelerate and break. While the loading screens do give control tips, it didn’t give me what I was looking for. But my fears were bedded as the game finally told me how to go.
When the level was loaded, there was a little helper holding a sign letting me know what I needed to know to get rolling. And that’s how this game teaches you the controls: at the start of a race, if there is something you need to do (for example duck or pop a wheelie) the game will teach it to you. I found this to be very refreshing as this keeps what you just learned fresh in your mind as opposed to going through a tutorial learning all the controls at once or having to pause the game to look at the layout. Once you learn all the controls, you will find that it is a snap to control good ole Joe.
As with most downloadable games anymore, you can create your very own track. This is simple to do and can be as easy or as complex as you want it. All you do is open up the toolbar, pick the item you want to place and set it down. It really is that simple and it’s pretty deep for a downloadable game. The only down side I came upon about is the lack of online multiplayer. It supports local split-screen but that’s it. Now I know that it wasn’t intended to be played with more than two players, but I believe that this game would be pretty sweet to play with three players. On that note, you can share your created tracks with everyone on your PSN friends list. So, long after you have beaten the single player and earned every medal in the game, you can keep the game fresh by playing other people’s levels and even your own.
In a world where disc-based retail games rule supreme, it’s a breath of fresh air to see a game like Joe Danger come out; especially during a time when a ton of great games have already been released. But not since Trails HD have I been so hooked on a downloadable game. Just trying to earn all the medals in each race had me playing for hours upon hours. For $15, I think that this game is a steal. I mean, I have $60 games that can’t hold my attention for as long as Joe Danger has and they aren’t nearly as fun. If you love video games and love having fun, then you need to do yourself a favor and download Joe Danger. I guarantee you this, it will be high on top of my game of the year list come December.
Review copy provided by publisher.