I took a look at JumpJet Rex a while back and was pleasantly surprised. Now that it’s out, I can happily say that this retro racer has only exceeded my expectations. Not only has there been a bunch of small tweaks and bits of polish, but the full game is open to explore. Pilot Rex through more content with two new bosses and areas, saving the dinos from extinction and finally destroying that ominous meteor.
For those of you who didn’t check out our preview (HERE), you play as Rex, a jetboot equipped tyrannosaur from a time long, long ago. His people, the dinosaurs, are in great peril as a giant meteor heads straight for their planet and only Rex can stop it. Before you get to adventure mode, this is accomplished by taking on each boss and then going after the meteor itself, meaning you can actually skip the majority of the levels. Of course, that wouldn’t be much fun and you’re going to need a strong skill-set before you tackle the game’s tougher challenges.
Each face button controls Rex’s jetboots in a different way. You can dash side to side, hop continuously, soar straight up, and drop down. You get the hang of the basics pretty fast, and new mechanics are all introduced at a steady rate so you don’t feel overwhelmed too quickly. Overall, TreeFortress has done a great job of not only getting those controls to feel perfect, but ramping the difficulty at a nice pace too. It’s reminiscent in that way of Super Meat Boy, making you feel like all of your mistakes really were your own doing.
With the additional levels, it’s apparent just how hard this game can get. The first few two zones were still somewhat easy and were 3-starred quickly, but once I hit the unknown content my progress slowed considerably. Thankfully for those who want to play but maybe lack some skill, there’s an easy mode now that allows you to take damage once before dying. This really changes up the game and makes finishing levels in one try much easier, but you can’t rely on it too much to save your hide. Once you hit the fourth zone, being hit once isn’t going to be your problem. You’ll be absolutely swarmed by projectiles in some levels and unless you get good at destroying them with Rex’s boots, you’re screwed whether you can get hit twice or not.
The difficulty certainly fits the theme and style of JumpJet Rex. TreeFortress does a great job of emulating what games used to feel like, and is sure to bring back some fun and exciting memories of old platformers and bullet-hell titles you may have played on your SNES or Sega Genesis. The art and music lend themselves to the cause too, with charming pixel art and a chip soundtrack straight out of 1991. If you like 2D racers with quirky stories, it’s hard to find anything bad about JumpJet at all unless you’re looking for something modern or AAA.
TreeFortress has done a great job of not only getting those controls to feel perfect, but ramping the difficulty
One thing that might turn you off though is the length of the game. If you don’t care about getting every star or beating the game on adventure mode, you can probably clear every boss and at least one-star every level in under three hours. At twelve dollars, that’s still pretty cheap entertainment at four dollars per hour but there are better options out there if that’s what you’re after. This is definitely a game much better suited for those who like to go back and retry everything until each run is perfect. One other reason the score was knocked down a bit was due to the presence of a few bugs I found within such a small timeframe. The soundtrack cuts out after while sometimes, and on the meteor mission I actually encountered a black screen that ruined my run. These are pretty minor, but issues that probably could have been dealt with before launch.
Overall this is a really great indie title for anyone interested in speedrunning or a game they can jump in and out of quickly. It’s hard to not hate dinosaurs in space, especially when they have jetboots strapped on and are trying to save an entire planet from destruction; JumpJet Rex is no exception. So why not relive your youth a little bit, or for those of you who are a bit younger, why not take a look at the kind of thing that inspired and captivated an older generation? This is the sort of game that is bound to pull you in and not let go until you really have collected every star and saved the world.
***A PC code was provided by the Publisher***