JumpJet Rex Review
JumpJet Rex Review
Every once in a while, a game developer and creator is not a man in a business suit thinking of what unnecessary spin-off or disappointing sequel game will bring in the big bucks. Sometimes it is just a group of young men who grew up on video games, play them every day, and have always dreamed of the opportunity to make them. One of Steam’s newest early access games is the birth child of just that kind of group of guys. A nostalgia bomb side-scroller than will win the heart of any gamer, JumpJet Rex, the tale of a space dino trying to save the world, needs to make its way into your shopping cart right away.
New to the Game
The team behind JumpJet Rex is the 2013-established indie game company Treefortress Games. With only one other game under their belt so far (the quirky adventure game Bardbarian, also on Steam, released in 2014), Treefortress can easily be seen as a new kid on the block. However with the success of Bardbarian and the already staggeringly positive reviews of JJR on the way, they are quickly climbing the ranks of indie gaming and gaining notice. The team is made up of two men: Shawn Blais, a game developer, and Mike Gaboury, an artist and designer.
Gaboury brought attention to the company early on as one-half of the very successful game-themed clothing line and Twitch channel named interchangeably Filthy Casual/Cherry Sauce Co. The t-shirts, art on which is all drawn by Gaboury, helped define his fun and animated style and would help lead to the art seen in JumpJet Rex.
Defend the Universe
Taking place far out in the wide universe high in the stars, the story of JJR introduces the rascal himself, a tiny T-Rex who wears nifty jet-powered boots that let him further defy the laws of gravity. On a mission to save his dino space station from certain demise against an approaching foe, JJR heads out into space, stopping along the way to solve puzzles and squeeze out of tight spots as well as facing off against some menacing bosses. The game is very reminiscent of early sidescrollers such as the Mario and Mega Man games, and for a younger generation, Super Meat Boy.
Moving along from mission to mission across the stars, players may find these challenging and mind-bending levels can take several tries to beat, but offer a large sense of accomplishment once you do so. After completing each level, the player can be rewarded up to three different starts for their trial: one for completing the course under a certain time frame, one for successfully finishing the level without dying (yes, you can restart), and lastly for just finishing it period. However, moving to the next area of maps requires a certain number of starts, forcing players to go for the extra challenge at least a few times.
There are also three other game mode options in addition to this single-player storyline. There is also a co-op area to enjoy with friends, leaderboards to see how you rank up to others around the world, and a party mode.
Blast from the Past
Not only is the gameplay of JumpJet Rex reminiscent of side-scrollers from our youth, but the art style itself pays tribute. Drawn in a stylized pixel art style, the game feels retro and reminiscent while still retaining its own unique personality and humor. Players are offered dozens of different customization options for JJR including different colored jet thrusters, unique ‘heads,’ and the option to change JJR’s colors and markings.
The music featured in JumpJet Rex also offers a fun, retro feel and sounds like arcade machine music with a refined touch. The songs perfectly set the tone for the various stages of JJR and keep the energy up during the game. A game made by gamers for gamers, JumpJet Rex reminds us of the games we loved growing up while also challenging us to move into the future with innovative ideas, humor, and energy that feel modern. Gaboury’s charming 8-bit art style, and the duo’s strong storytelling and ideas, read well and are sure to make JumpJet Rex a game that appeals to many different types of gamers across the world. Moving slowly out of early access, JJR will be able to stand as a full-fledged game and will surely mark continued success for Treefortress and launch them forward into new and exciting projects for the future.
- Reminiscent and retro style
- Many game styles to play in
- Strong art direction and soundtrack
- Still in early access
- Played most comfortably with a controller