While the Wii never had the indie success of the Xbox 360 and the PS3, there was always one game that managed to stick out from the rest. Jett Rocket was released in June 2010 on Wiiware and was one of the best indie titles on the system. It’s been three long years for fans of the original, but Jett Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai has finally been released for the 3DS. So does it capture the flair of the first title or has the wait been a disappointment?
Developed by Shin’en, makers of the excellent Nano series, Jett Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai has our titular hero trying to save his kidnapped friends from his arch nemesis, the evil robot Kaiser Taikai. The game features 15 levels of play with an interesting twist: half of the levels are 2.5D (2D gameplay with 3D backgrounds) and the other half are in 3D (in the same vein as Mario). The split-design allows for the game to feature two separate design types to keep things fresh. Throw in some mini-games, bosses, and bonus content/collectibles, and you end up with a decent amount of content.
Jett Rocket’s attack is a dash move, similar to that of Sonic. Along with a standard jump, Jett can collect “Rocket Packs” that propel him into the air so he can reach other areas. In the later stages, Jett gets platforms that he uses in lieu of the rockets. The 2.5D levels move at a brisk pace, with challanging platforming, environmental hazards, and a array of enemies trying to stop Jett’s progress. The 2.5D levels are the true star of the show and really help promote the touted “60 FPS” that Shin’en was very proud of in their previews of the game.
The 3D levels, however, don’t seem to fare as well as the 2.5D ones. That’s not to say that they are bad, but they just don’t seem to share the same attention to detail as their other half. These levels have the same control as their 2D counterpart but with the added camera control with the “L and R” triggers. The 3D levels often feel barren with not enough action going on. The camera by default can be a bit tricky, which sometimes dampens the gameplay experience by making jumps unnecessarily difficult. The brisk pace is slowed down as well and will mainly make you desire the next level that will have 2D gameplay.
Shin’en has always pushed Nintendo hardware graphically and Jett Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai is no different. The color palette is outstanding, Jett Rocket looks great, and the boss battles are big and colorful. The textures look great and everything manages to move very smoothly throughout the adventure. The 2D levels do have a very stagnant background, but you hardly notice it as you dash through the levels.
3D effects are found tastefully done throughout the world. Enemies fly at the screen when defeated and the jet-ski mini-game looks very crisp and the depth is great. I found myself really enjoying that portion of the game and it actually makes me wonder why we haven’t seen a Wave Race on the 3DS. The sound is a rather standard affair with upbeat techno music being featured throughout. The game does have a full-voiced intro that helps give the game a cinematic feel.
As good as everything sounds, there are a few problems with the game that need to be addressed. First and most annoyingly is that, when Jett is hit, he flies back rather far and usually puts you in even more danger. Jett himself also moves a little slow, which takes away from some of the excitement. Also, while the game does feature 15 levels, they do tend to be a bit short. The game can be completed easily in a weekend; however, the previously mentioned additional unlockable content does manage to extend the game a little.
Jett Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai is a great addition to the 3DS eShop. All of the minor quirks can be overlooked and what’s left is a well-crafted and fun game. For only $8.99, you get a quality platformer that reminds me of the slew of platform games that were released during the N64 era. It’s not a true standout like Super Mario 64, but it manages to do well enough to be like Gex 64: a mostly enjoyable experience.
- Excellent graphics
- 2D levels are a blast
- Great value at $8.99
- Jett flies back too far when hit
- 3D levels aren't as good as 2D ones