Motorcycle Platform action on PSN.
Developers who are creating games solely for the PSN network should sit up and take notice of Hello Games’ creation Joe Danger. Do not get me wrong, there are a lot of good games to be had from the Sony download store. But every so often a title comes along that is better than just good. It quickly turns into one of those games that you just can’t stop playing. It brings out the worst “just one more go” attitude in us gamers, but is also amazingly fun to play. So Joe Danger joins some of my other personal favourite PSN titles such as Pain and Fat Princess. But what makes this title even more impressive is that it was made by a small group of four guys coming together to form Hello Games.
This small group of developers were inspired to make the game, Joe Danger, after sitting around one day playing with a box of toys, most notably a toy motorcycle, which they then proceeded to send over jumps, flying out of windows and I can only imagine what else. Which led to them thinking they should make a game that involves a stuntman on a motorcycle doing crazy things and from that idea Joe Danger was born. The game however is far from a bike riding game, although Joe rides his bike 100% of the time. The game is purely a side scrolling platform game with the developers naming the original Sonic games as a source of inspiration.
So like I said, the player takes control of Joe Danger, a motorcycle stuntman whose rise to fame takes a nose dive, along with his bike and himself, as he tries to jump too many short buses. That is where the game starts off, as you try and help Joe hit the big time once again. Doing so is as easy as guiding him on his bike through various stages with the aim being to collect stars throughout them. To do so you have to complete certain objectives in each stage, be it collecting a number of mini stars, landing jumps on designated targets, finishing within a time limit or, my personal favourite, performing stunts for the entirety of the stage.
The game plays very much like a high speed platform game with a simple yet effective control system. Accelerate, brake, duck and jump, with the left analogue stick leaning Joe back and forward, used for pulling wheelies and stopies, as well as back and forward flips while in the air. These controls are coupled with combinations of shoulder button presses to pull off stunts and tricks while Joe goes flying through the air. The stages are a straight A-B run on a four lane track which you can switch between at certain gates and loops throughout. But do not think you will have things as easy as accelerating and winning from the off, you will find yourself ducking and hoping over obstacles and jumps. Any player will find just riding from one end of a stage to the other easy, but that is not where the challenge lies. You need to complete the challenges on the way to progress to the next stage. Although the first ten or so stages are a breeze, basically acclimatising you to the game, it is not long before you hit a stage that will have you replaying it a handful of times just to complete a single objective. But far from being infuriating, it is actually a welcome challenge with perseverance usuallyÂ enough to see you achieve your goal and leave you withÂ grin on your face at having beaten it, even when you get further into the game and objectives in the stages are a lot tougher to achieve.
Both the graphics and the sound in the game are colourful and cheerful. The music itself can, at times, be a little too cheerful to the point of being annoying but that’s nothing a quick stop off at the options screen will not fix. The graphics, gameplay and physics all take on a cartoon like approach, especially when our hero Joe comes of his bike and rag dolls across your screen. This goes towards ensuring the game is not only hugely entertaining, but also amusing to play. The stages that make up the story mode are all nicely done and start out pretty easy to finish with all objectives complete on the first couple of attempts. Later levels will have you retrying the stage over and over, just to pick up that last objective star. The levels are all in the same style throughout the game, using all the same types of items and this is one of a very few negative points in the game. To be honest it never really gets old or harms the fun. When you add alongside the already fun to play single player game an equally as fun multiplayer mode, then Joe Danger becomes even more enticing, offering you the chance to race with your friends.
But if you think that is all Joe Danger has to offer, you are mistaken. Hello Games’ creation is another in the growing line of play, create and share games, allowing players to take a blank empty stage and, using a simple drag and drop method, you can build you own stages from the ground up, making them as difficult as you choose. One of the cool features in the edit mode is that as you build, you can drop a few jumps in and then immediately play that small segment, testing to see if it works, before quickly going back to the edit mode to rearrange placed items and add more to it. A simple build mode, but one that offers you so much free reign, letting you build stages even more complex that the ones that come as part of the game. The fact that these stages can then be shared with everyone online means there is potentially an endless supply of stages to play.
Overall Joe Danger is, without a doubt, one of the best PSN titles out there at the moment and anyone who enjoys a good side scrolling platform game should definitely pick this one up. The single player mode alone is enough to keep you interested, but when you throw in the multiplayer mode and stage creator it makes this even more of an appealing purchase.