(Wii U eShop)

Jett Tailfin (Wii U eShop)

Game Review

Jett Tailfin Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Dave Letcavage

The art of drowning

So far this year, the Wii U eShop has allowed us to submerge our imaginations in the ocean with titles like Squids Odyssey and Abyss, two games we found to be rather charming and worthy of your investment. Yet, as we all should know, the ocean and the eShop are also filled with predators ready to take a big juicy bite out of your wallet, while you attempt to fathom why you left yourself vulnerable to such a perceptible attack in the first place. Even though the cheery-looking aquatic racer, Jett Tailfin, may appear to be docile and harmless on the surface, but be warned: it’s a shark in sheep’s clothing, looking to take the biggest bite of all – don’t let it.

You see, Jett Tailfin has been available on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) for a while now, and it sells for just a couple of dollars. For some reason, though, the Wii U version – at the time of writing – fetches a much, much higher price. This doesn’t factor into how we score a game, but it is something that the consumer needs to be aware of, especially when you consider how poorly this port has been handled. When a game looks and performs better – and is more financially reasonable – on an iPhone, something’s very wrong.

This is an underwater racing game that doesn’t provide the player with much freedom. In a way, the action feels as if it’s on rails, pulling the character through narrow tunnel-like raceways with boundaries that aren’t always clearly defined. There are weapons that help introduce a bit of chaos into the mix, but they’re the usual kart racing suspects masked in sea-themed skins, and they aren’t always reliable. Much of what happens in Jett Tailfin either feels out of your control or left to chance, and with a camera that seems to shift slightly with every curve of the environment, participation can be rather disorienting.

There are so many problems that it’s hard to know which to dig into first. The controls are sluggish and unresponsive; the button mapping is unintuitive to the point where it feels as if someone went out of their way to intentionally confuse/annoy players; also, because the poorly-tuned motion controls stay active even when using the analogue stick for movement, it’s rare to feel like you have full command over your racer. Referring to the gameplay as “completely broken” might be almost too harsh, but labelling it “shoddy” would be something of an understatement. So let’s put it this way – Jett Tailfin just isn’t any fun to play; it’s a mess, and feels like work.

It doesn’t matter which mode you’ve decided on – Quick Play, Challenge, or Multiplayer – as the results are the same. While Challenge does add respectable cutscenes and minor context to the proceedings, it’s probably not captivating enough to lure players through the detestable gameplay. It doesn’t help matters that the fishy AI opponents perform in an erratic fashion. One minute your perfect racing manoeuvres won’t be enough to stay ahead of the pack, and then the next minute — even after a few mistakes — you’ll be out ahead with a commanding lead. It’s incredibly frustrating to experience and nearly impossible to anticipate; if you want to unlock all of the stages in Quick Play, they’ll need to be conquered in Challenge mode, which, we presume, few will have the patience for.

Technical issues and perplexing design choices also surface to muddy the waters even further. Whether it’s the unstable frame rate chopping up your race or a random glitch that forces a restart, Jett Tailfin is ripe with abnormalities sure to lower your already-low opinion of it. When you consider the sub-par quality of the visuals, the poor voice acting, the absence of key sound effects and the many control discrepancies, it’s almost impossible to conjure up a single reason why this download might be worth your time or money.


In the transition from mobile marketplaces to the Wii U eShop, Jett Tailfin has been ported so carelessly that it's borderline broken: the controls are abysmal, technical complications are in abundance, and, even when things are running at their smoothest the gameplay is extremely bland. When you combine those devastating shortcomings with the offensive price point, you have a game that should be completely ignored. In fact, pretend that you didn't stumble upon this review and convince yourself that you've never heard of Jett Tailfin. There are plenty of other — more talented and deserving — fish in the sea.

From the web

User Comments (33)



accc said:

I don't think you should ignore a game's price when deciding its score. Even if this game had good gameplay, if the price tag does not match the amount of value the game offers, the score should suffer as a result.



Hero-of-WiiU said:

Hopefully this game gets the hate The Letter got, at least that game was reasonably priced.



ekreig said:

Let's see...99 cents on Google Play, and the reviews on there are also less than flattering. Yikes.



rjejr said:

Honestly, I don't think I ever heard of this before now. Though I do think I feel another TW Soapbox coming on.



MajinSoul said:

Not gonna lie, the amount of terrible mobile ports the WiiU is getting lately is terryfing.



ULTRA-64 said:

I guess this is the downside of a popular e shop. I'll take games like this swimming around of we keep getting the quality games we've had lately . Swings and roundabouts I guess?



TheWPCTraveler said:

No one will download this for $35. The Letter is at least less capable of destroying bank account.



TG1 said:

@accc Agreed. More and more review outlets seem to be coming along to the same conclusion, thankfully.



TomJ said:

Who needs great Virtual Console titles when you have -TA DA! This?
Once again, the apathy of Nintendo concerning quality control is clear as day.



ricklongo said:

It's gonna sell a grand total of zero copies. I mean, no one can fall for this one. Can they?



Obito_Sigma said:

@Phantom_R Back in the 80's, you needed to do some magic in order to make that a thing. Now, all you need is MS Paint, and paste the two pictures on top of each other.



OorWullie said:

@everyone I might be mistaken but I'm sure the price must be a typo? If the UK price is only £1.89 then I can't see it costing $34.95 in the US

Edit - I am mistaken, I thought it said GBP not GB.So that is the price after all!



mystman12 said:

I saw the pictures and was like "Huh, these graphics look pretty good for a 3DS game.", and then, I realized... This isn't a 3DS game.



xAlias said:

Terrible. Absolutely terrible. Nintendo really needs to prevent games like this (and the countless other smartphone game clones) from entering the eShop.



TheRealThanos said:

They forgot to subtract a point for the terrible, no ABYSMAL voice acting, so my score for this reheated turd is 1 out of 10.
Just listen to it, I dare you:
And if you think it is bad in the intro cut scene, just fast forward to 2:40 to hear what the voice acting during a race sounds like...



jakysnakydx said:

@BlackSpy yeah... because heaven forbid we blame the developer for a P.O.S. game. You know, the people who actually supposed to test for quality first?



Drawdler said:

@TheRealThanos That footage really looks really stiff and the cutscenes are bad (kind of rushed yet kind of stretched out and unfun and more confusing than they should be). And the track design just looks bad; it seems like you could easily be left without items because there are so few barrels, and the environments are uninteresting and almost indistinguishable from one another.

The Letter might be dreadfully short, but at least it doesn't cost this much. Imagine how many other, more enjoyable eShop games you could get with $35.



TantXL said:

$35!? Yea right. You could get much more enjoyable games for that price.



Action51 said:

Ugh, Nintendo really need to do some work on the E-shop...

I can see some poor kid who sees the Finding Nemo style look of the game and begs their parents to download it for him. He does his chores and is good at school all week and so they let him get it...and then...THIS.

It's one thing to let people get ripped off on a $0.99 puzzler, but this is like a scam.



TheRealThanos said:

@Jahir @Drawdler Yeah, it's bad, isn't it? I played the free, ad supported version on Android, which was mildly entertaining for an Android game that you'll play about one or two times, but the strange thing is that this version looks worse and the voices are totally different in some parts. They could have just ported it as is.

Then again: this shouldn't have come to the eShop in the first place...



JustinH said:

Games like this frustrate me. This would find an audience if they put any sort of care into it. (And charged something reasonable.)



parmenio said:

I have to wonder what this reviewer was playing as the Wii U version (which is not a port of the android or iOS version) have 16 levels( 4 smaller ones are in the mobile versions only), a whole bunch of new characters, (4 WIi U only new fish), 4 bonus rounds (not in mobile version) and new sound track that was not in the mobile version. He might have been playing the mobile version and claiming its the Wii U version.

Having played the game myself with kids (who love the game), I was surprised at some of the comments. The game is also $24.95 now as they dropped the price.

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