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Game Review

Jett Rocket II - The Wrath of Taikai Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Martin Watts

A rocketing success?

It’s crazy to think that it’s been three years since we last saw Jett Rocket. Three years may not seem like it was that long ago, but a lot has changed during this time. As a result, not only is the planetary inspector only just making his handheld début on 3DS, but his creators at Shin’en Multimedia no longer have to worry about the pesky 40MB size limit that Nintendo had previously imposed on WiiWare titles. With the restrictions lifted — and the 3DS’s graphical grunt behind it — Jett Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai looks very slick. Of course, what you probably want to know is how well it plays.

Jett’s latest adventure sees him on a mission to rescue a group of robots that have been kidnapped by an evil machine known as Kaiser Taikai. The aim of the game is to work your way through a number of stages, collecting solar cells (the in-game currency), freeing hostages and sending this mechanical nuisance back to where he came from.

One of the key differences this time around is that the gameplay is a lot more varied. As you work your way through the story mode, the stages regularly switch between 2D- and 3D-based gameplay, although sadly this doesn't automatically make for a better experience. It's the 3D stages that are the issue here: enemies and hazards are in seemingly short supply, making the majority of the open areas too easy and not especially exciting to explore. Thankfully, it's a completely different story when it comes to the 2D levels, which are much more tightly designed; here, precise platforming is required to make it through the many unforgiving gauntlets of gun emplacements, lasers and Thwomp knock-offs. These parts command quite a lot of skill — and sometimes extra lives — mainly because taking a hit knocks Jett back a fair distance. It seems a bit cruel when compared against the overwhelming amount of hand-holding in today's games, but it's fair to say that it makes it a much more entertaining experience.

To make things even more difficult, Jett's available moveset is very limited, allowing him to either jump or perform a spin attack. However, using these in conjunction with one another enables you to pull off a double jump, and one which will damage any enemies you come into contact with. Shin'en's decision to opt for this basic setup pays off, as it prevents the controls from ever getting in the way. Some of the most challenging areas of the game require you to go through them in a very particular way, so the fact that Shin'en's has managed such tricky level design with such a rudimentary control setup is very impressive. There are additional items that you can pick up, including a jetpack and hovering platforms, and these additional elements help to increase the overall challenge.

This design philosophy carries across the boss battles, which can prove to be quite difficult at times. Staying true to the tried-and-tested formula, bosses change their attacks as they take more damage, and while this in itself is far from revolutionary, it’s well-executed here and forces you to play in a precise manner. When you consider that the game features both 2D and 3D elements, it’s a shame that there isn't more of a natural switch between the two, as this could have potentially resulted in some exciting gameplay opportunities.

In a bid to throw even more variety into the mix, Shin’en Multimedia has included bonus mini-games in-between worlds and stages. The ones that follow a boss encounter are designed as an easy way for you to rake in solar cells, and include activities such as skydiving and jet skiing. They’re fun little diversions — and it’s nice to see the game’s engine being put to other uses — but after you've played them once there’s really no need to go back. Otherwise, there are optional mini-games in-between stages that provide you with the chance to boost your health and extra lives. Playing them requires solar cells and success isn't guaranteed, which again makes for a refreshing change. The activities aren't the most exciting part of the game, but they at least require a certain amount of skill and can come in very handy when the core stages are giving you a hard time.

When it comes to the game's visuals, Jett Rocket II - The Wrath of Taikai lives up to Shin'en Multimedia's typically high standards. Character models and environments are detailed, and the game also runs at 60 frames per second, even with 3D enabled. It’s incredibly smooth to play, although the frame rate performance would be more noticeable if the gameplay was faster paced; Jett’s movements are incredibly lethargic, not to mention that there’s very little action happening on-screen at any one time. Moreover, the art style just seems generic; as far as gameplay is concerned, it feels inspired by classic titles, but the world and characters are lacking in identity and personality. The soundtrack is upbeat and in keeping with the genre, but we'd be surprised if you'll be able to remember a single tune by the time you reach the end of the game.

Jett Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai is a relatively short-lived experience in terms of how many levels there are. Nevertheless, if you fancy yourself as a bit of a completionist, there are a number of collectibles to be found and a new mode is unlocked upon finding all of these.

Conclusion

Jett Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai is a game that, for the most part, is fun to play and nice to look at. It tries to deliver a varied gameplay experience, and although it isn’t too hot when it comes to the 3D levels and shallow mini-games, it makes up for this with tightly crafted 2D levels that can be deviously challenging. From a visual standpoint it's certainly smooth, colourful and detailed, but the overall presentation comes off as generic and lacking in personality. As a result, Jett Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai does a good job of paying homage to classic 2D and 3D platforming games in terms of gameplay, but it fails to quite deliver the same charm or appeal.

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User Comments (44)

OracleOfTruth

#1

OracleOfTruth said:

Great review, @MegaWatts!

It looks pretty great, but I'm not sure if I really need it right now. I already have several games on tap to play, not to mention I'm saving for Christmas.

CanisWolfred

#2

CanisWolfred said:

...so it's about as good as the last game, which is disappointing. The last one I thought was good, but I was hoping this'd finally make the jump into greatness territory.

Ralizah

#3

Ralizah said:

Guess I'll be skipping this one.

Not that I could afford it right now anyway!

n057828

#4

n057828 said:

No one spoke about how much and value for money show me the facts first in the conclusion, then Ill make a comment!

Anclation

#5

Anclation said:

7/10 sounds about right, it's a good eShop platformer, but hardly an amazing, original experience.

bahooney

#6

bahooney said:

Totally disagree on your review. I found the 2D portions to be an annoying disturbance in my need for more 3D levels! The 3D levels, while open and fairly easy, were incredibly fun to explore and gave me a Super Mario 3D Land vibe.

I think a 7/10 is about right.

Goginho

#8

Goginho said:

I only had time to read the conclusion (and comment real quick), and I find it spot on. I bought the game expecting a lot, but I found myself on a bit of a dilemma. I really loved the presentation, the visuals and the overall gameplay concept, taking some evident inspiration from Super Mario 3D Land, but as mentioned, I can't help but agree that it seems generic and lacks in personality. It's a shame really, since it shows to have a lot of potential.
Overall, I think it's a pretty decent game and I enjoyed it, just not as much as I would have liked to. I wish it at least had some more on offer for its price. Gunman Clive, on the other hand, is a solid platformer where the content/length and price match up imo.. And it's not as stiff a game as Jett Rocket 2.
Had this review been up earlier, I may not have downloaded it. I dunno, I guess I was longing for some more 3D Land style on the go :P

Einherjar

#9

Einherjar said:

Im with @bahooney in that i liked the 3D Levels (free roam and side view) much more enjoyable. The 2D parts were ok, the weird button setup in that your regular attack worked as some sort of double jump was a bit iffy to get into, but the tight controls made up for that.
All in all a very enjoyable game that feels a bit "empty" sometimes.
But a good 7/10 is about right, maybe even an 8 if you feel generous ;)
Its not revolutionary or "fantastic" but solid, fun and challanging n the right places.

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#10

Philip_J_Reed said:

@n057828 We provide the cost of each game and our thoughts on each game. It's up to you to weigh that cost and the merits of the game yourself...we can't tell you or anyone else if it's worth their own money!

Yomerodes

#12

Yomerodes said:

Shinen games were legends in WiiWare because the competition was horrible...but the Eshop today is a brave new world, and the games will need far more than a glossy finish and some graphics mumbo jumbo to catch the attention of the users.

KJ85

#13

KJ85 said:

I have done a review of this game as well for a Danish website. Here is my translated conclusion...

Conclusion: Jett Rocket II is a mediocre platform game, or rather an extremely pretty, mediocre platform game. Unfortunately, the game experience never reaches the level of the graphics, and since Shin’en moves in both 2D and 3D platforming without mastering any of the categories it all ends as a somewhat flat experience, with the boss fights probably being the best content of the game. A higher tempo and more content in the empty 3D stages could have done much but sadly, that was not meant to be. Overall, you should be able to find just enough happiness from the experience to justify the 9 € price tag, however, it is not a must have and you can easily find better platform games on the 3DS eShop. (Score: 3/5)

I mostly agree with things mentioned in this review. The 3D levels are the worst but the 2D levels is not great either - one reason being a total lack of difficulty curve. Third level you encounter has some of the most challenging sections while later levels can be very easy.

ducktrapper

#14

ducktrapper said:

Mediocre is the word. Sadly I bought this on day one and the trailer made it look fantastic (in other words, it did its job). It is a pretty enough game to look at but it does not play well in my opinion. Not terrible, but the levels either feel empty (3d) or crowded with cheap deaths (2d). I never get a buzz from playing it, like I get from so many platform games (not just the superlative Mario games but from things like Mighty Switch Force or Super Little Acorns, both of which have very well designed levels). Not impressed with this one.

unrandomsam

#15

unrandomsam said:

I think its good miles better than Mighty Switch Force or Super Little Acorns. (There is about 2 really good levels in Mighty Switch Force but that is all.)

(It has the essentials good controls and 60fps where so few games have reasonable difficulty at least for the 2D bits).

I prefer it to 3d Land or NSMB2 even especially if the amount paid is taken into account. Like it tons more than Mutant Mudds as well. (If the Nintendo ones had better levels/difficulty and 60fps I might feel differently).

Best eshop game I have played other than Steamworld Dig for me. (Not counting Nano Assault Ex or Kokuga as they were retail elsewhere or virtual console). VVVVV might be better but I haven't played the 3DS version.

unrandomsam

#16

unrandomsam said:

Forgot about Gunman Clive I like that quite a bit as well but if cost is taken into account it is probably better than this.

unrandomsam

#17

unrandomsam said:

@Philip_J_Reed So your reviews don't take cost into account at all ? (Personally I am more tolerant of stuff when something costs £2 than £40) everything is on just the merits of the game without cost having any bearing on the score whatsoever ? (Or does it vary between reviewers ?)

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#18

Philip_J_Reed said:

Sure, we take it into account. Or I do, at least. But we can't tell you if it's worth your money...that's for you to decide. That's why there are words in addition to a number. As you mentioned, your personal tolerance may differ for certain things depending upon the price. Others will be more tolerant or less tolerant of the same things. :)

Dpullam

#19

Dpullam said:

I'm not sure if I would be too interested in this game even if it received a half-off price deal. I'm just not digging the graphical style they are going for. If they released a demo then that might change my mind, but the chances of that don't seem too promising. At the very least, they released a demo of the Wii Jett Rocket game so I'll remain hopeful. Otherwise I can't see myself plopping down some cash on this anytime soon.

Spectator

#21

Spectator said:

I admire the effort and time Shinen puts into their games. It is truly hard to create a strong personality or style that is effective these days in the game industry. I'm sure they will come up with one, it takes a lot of experimentation to get there. Looking forward to their next projects.

accc

#22

accc said:

@bahooney Agree 100%! At least if you're talking about the free roaming 3D levels. The reviewer's complaint that they consist mostly of running through empty hallways doesn't hold up. There are a few stretches like that, but for the most part the 3D levels are packed with enemies and challenging platforming obstacles. I thought the side view 3D levels were incredibly bland, however. The 2D levels were okay but nothing special.
Overall, I'd rate the game as follows:
2D levels: 6/10
Side view 3D levels: 5/10
Open 3D levels: 9/10
Boss battles: 8.5/10
Final stage: 9/10
Since the 2D stages make up the bulk of the game, this averages out to around a 7/10.

Scon

#23

Scon said:

First day buyer here, and I agree completely with Martin: It's so simple, a bit challenging, but overall so simple...

Well... I hope this supports Shin'en and encourages then to bring us better games =)

BulbasaurusRex

#24

BulbasaurusRex said:

Sounds good to me. In my opinion, better a generic platformer than one with a complicated gimmick like environment shifting, constant gravity manipulation, simultaneous multi-character control, overused touchscreen controls, etc. as has been common on Nintendo handhelds since the advent of the DS. Adding to Wishlist...

WaveWarlock

#26

WaveWarlock said:

Yawn. Somebody wake me up from slumberland when Shovel Knight is released.
I'm not bothering with another stale 'n 'pretty' rehashed by the numbers uncreative effort from the boils & ghouls down at Shenin Laboratories.
Can't wait for their next release which will most likely rip platforming mechanics from Startropics just to fill the 20-something year void Nintendo has left us,

PinkSpider

#27

PinkSpider said:

Yeah 7 is about right I'm enjoying the game but... It's ridiculously hard in places, my 3ds has been launched once lol. The game is very slow placed the character should have had a run button and the levels should have been more detailed. There is a hell of a lot or resemblances to super mario 3d land though.

Falk_Sturmfels

#28

Falk_Sturmfels said:

I bought the game and its a solid one. 7/10 doesn´t mean awful, don´t forget that, folks. I enjoy it.

theblackdragonAdmin

#30

theblackdragon said:

@CasuallyDressed: This is actually one of the first reviews I've seen in a while where we don't have a stream of people piling in to complain about the number at the end. Let's not be the ones to start that mess ourselves on this rare occasion :3

Anyway, with my love of all things platform-y, I may wind up picking this up (if RF4 ever releases me from its clutches, haha).

Guovssohas

#31

Guovssohas said:

The game is OK i guess.

The 3d levels are just so empty, almost nothing going on and there's really no secrets on them, nothing to explore. (this probably explains the 60fps even with 3d on)

The controls also feel slightly stiff at times. (3d levels)

The 2d levels are quite good though.

Back to the 60fps thing; i would take 30fps ANY DAY if it means more content, and more stuff going on and secrets to discover/explore. For this type of a game 60fps is a gimmick, plain and simple.

WaveWarlock

#32

WaveWarlock said:

@Guovssohas

Just imagine how barren and empty 3D Land would of looked if Nintendo had it running in 60fps. Dang that power sucking stereoscopic 3D! :P

Tony_342

#33

Tony_342 said:

This review is pretty much spot-on. As a huge fan of Shin'en - and as someone who loved the original Jett Rocket - it pains me to say this, but I was pretty disappointed by this game. Now, that's not to say it's a bad game, because it certainly isn't. But it could have been so much better. It pales in comparison to the first game, I think.

The 3D levels are empty and boring, the way you fly backwards 12 feet every time you take damage is incredibly annoying, the 60 fps framerate is hardly noticeable considering how slowly Jett actually moves, and having to press two different buttons to perform a double jump feels...a little strange.

Having said all that, it's still a pretty decent platformer and you can certainly do worse for $8.99. I just hope that if and when Shin'en make a Jett Rocket 3, it's much more like the first one, and much, much less like this one. A proper sequel to the first one on the Wii U eShop could be fantastic.

ducktrapper

#34

ducktrapper said:

Super Mario 3D Land: boundless invention, beauty, meticulous craft behind the level design. Video gaming pushed to the level of art.
Jet Rocket II: mediocre and forgettable, mundane levels, probably worth someone's money but for my money Nintendolife have been generous in their rating. Still, I think if you read between the lines you can see that they were underwhelmed with what is after all an ambitious download game.
Each to their own opinion. This is mine. No offence to anyone here.

Henmii

#35

Henmii said:

Only a 7 sadly, but it might still be worth it!

@ducktrapper,

I guess you meant Mario 3d world! Mario 3d land was great fun, and a very good 3d showcase. But it relied mostly on old mechanics, while in "world" there is a lot of new stuff!

Zodiak13

#36

Zodiak13 said:

I have had a great time plaing this game. It may not be the best platformer ever, but I've enjoyed playing it way more than I expected. Worth a buy for platformer fan's, or anyone who wants to support Shinen to keep them making other great games for Nintendo systems.

ducktrapper

#37

ducktrapper said:

@Henmii No, I meant 3D Land. I don't have a Wii U sadly but I imagine World is even better. For me, Land is still a platform game elevated to near perfection on the system for which it was made.

WaveWarlock

#39

WaveWarlock said:

@KeeperBvK
uh oh, i just got schooled by the spelling police, sorry for the grammar nasty.
Honestly, was this really necessary? Shouldn't you be eradicating deadly 8-bit viruses, c'mon Doc' I was hoping to get a response based on my never ending hate train of Shinen shinanigans. ;)

WaveWarlock

#40

WaveWarlock said:

@ducktrapper

Exactly, I don't understand the need to take a bite of a stale piece of crusty cheese when the grand daddy gourmet NintenFudge mountain cake is already available. ;) There's nothing worse than spending your money and time with a crappy or mediocre videogame(Gunman Clive) Jet Rocket II seems like a pointless experience if you've already experienced 'original' platforming greatness.

WYLD-WOO

#43

WYLD-WOO said:

THIS IS A REAL GEM OF A GAME. Have to disagree with the review score with this one Nintendolife. Yeah, it`s not the most orginal of platform games but that`s why I liked it. I feel this takes what is good from classic platforms like Alex the Kid, Wonderboy, Sonic, Megaman, Mario and Donkey Kong. The 3D levels are at first are a bit slow on the take up with some pointless free roaming. However, they do provide a welcome change of pace from the other and more intense one`s and do get better the further you go in the game. The 2D levels are fantastic with spot on controls and they offer a fun, yet challenging experience. This is miles better for the price of something like Sonic Lost World, which I was really disappointed with. One more thing to mention is the Cloud Assault level. Wow, I would like to see a spin off game with all levels like this. JETT ROCKET III - CLOUD ASSAULT?

InfinitysEnd

#44

InfinitysEnd said:

For those of you just finding out about this now - the game is on sale through 10/23 for $5.99. I just played the demo and I'm definitely intrigued. I may buy it if I have some bucks laying around by then. 'Tis a shame there's absolutely NOTHING on this game on the mainstream sites.

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