Thursday, February 1, 2024

Demo Play Thursday - Jett Rider On #Switch

For this week's Demo Play Thursday i played the Nintendo Switch version of Jett Rider. This game, from developers Last Chicken Games is out now across various platforms.

The screenshots for this demo showed the game to be a platformer, but after some rough platforming with Aaru's Awakening,, i hadn't been keen to jump into another platformer. But i was also curious as i could be missing out on a decent platformer. But once i knew this was a platformer, i figured it would be a great game to try for Demo Play Thursday.

The main menu is bare bones, it does say it's a demo but that's all the information we get. there are no links to the eShop page, no mention as to what's in the demo, nor is there a trailer for the game. so i did go in not knowing how long things were going to be.

When it starts, one of the first things i noticed was how much was on screen. many pixel art games tend to zoom in on the main character, meaning there's not much extra above, below, or to the sides. but here, i was impressed by the scale of it. It's another game that starts and then jumps back in time, but Jett Rider doesn't take itself too serious so i wasn't too bothered by it.

One thing i mention throughout the video is how lacking the tutorial was. it's decent at the start but then it kinda stops before it's finished explaining how things work or where everything is. This game does feel like one where exploring and dying are gameplay mechanics and a half finished tutorial like this one is actually better than you'd get in other games with similar mechanics. There is a theme of the game perhaps not doing enough to give the player information. an example that comes up in the video is that we level up, the game says our stats are better, but we never get to see those stats. as the player, when anything is improved we have no way of quantifying the improvements, for the most part we only have the word of the game. I did notice with the weapons that when we upgraded them, visually we were able to see a difference in the firing and the larger numbers coming of enemies.

Having accepted that exploring and dying are part of the game, one key factor for me is how long does it take to restart and where it happens. Jett Rider does not have an auto save, it's only manual and only at specific places in the map. so if you explore in the wrong direction from one of these, you could restart and loose progress. i died a few times in this video. a couple of times i died close to the save point. but the other times when i died further away were not fun.

As well as the great visuals and art, i also enjoyed the weapons. each one is visually different, and each has some information saying what they're suited for. using each one was fun. this meant that when i had 4 weapons unlocked and could only use 2, it felt like the un fun choice. Ratchet and Clank is famous for it's cool weapons and lets the user choose which one to use with a radial menu. i wanted this game to have a radial menu so i could have all the weapons. But you can only swap weapons at specific points.

As a demo, it's good. we get some back story, enough of a tutorial, and a decent sample of platforming, enemies, and boss fights. i feel like i could get the game and enjoy it. but the demo also makes me feel like i wouldn't finish it. at each point we reached, new enemies or stronger versions of enemies we had met were introduced. This kept happening so by the time i ended the demo, i was concerned that the game would move away from puzzle/exploration platformer to more of a survival/shooter platformer and getting more difficult. 

I would recommend the game after trying the demo. but i would make it clear that i think it's going to get tough. and it's because of this i probably won't be getting the game but, again, it's not because it's bad it's just because i feel like it's going to be hard in a way i won't enjoy it.