|System: PS3 (PSN)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Hello Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Hello Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jun. 8, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Tony Capri
Though we were tickled by Nintendo's revamping of Excitebike, the plain Jane trimmings and lack of local multiplayer meant the WiiWare offering was ultimately short-lived. Changing lanes, we had Trials HD, a thrilling, if not obnoxiously brutal, game that still has many folks hooked on its clever brand of physics-defying stunt cycling. Newcomer Hello Games now throws their hat into the motocross ring with Joe Danger, a sort of marriage of the two aforementioned games, and we're filled with giddy pleasure by its simple playfulness.
Much like the dirt hog our hero rides, Joe Danger is a vehicle for goofiness. The developers make no bones about their intentions with the game, and if you enjoy a challenge wrapped in hilarity, stop reading now and go purchase Joe Danger off of the PlayStation Network.
If you're still on the fence, however, allow me to enlighten you. There are three basic modes to choose from: Career, Multiplayer, and Sandbox. For $15 dollars, gamers are getting a lot of great content, and though there are a few additional things I wish were included, as well as one or two elements I could live without, Joe Danger is a premium downloadable title that really lives up to its asking price.
The Career mode will run you through a slew of levels, each with various objectives that must be met in order to earn stars. Stars are the game's currency, which you'll use to unlock additional tracks. It's a great system that is forgiving enough to allow most players to push on through to the end, though you will eventually be forced to return to earlier stages in order to complete harder objectives you might have previously passed over.
Though you'll experience most of the game's objectives within the first few tours, the tracks throughout the entire game are engaging and fun. Some tracks may challenge you with completing up to eight different objectives, and there's simply no way to hit them all in a single run. Collecting coins, stunt comboing through an entire level, and hitting all targets are among some of the various objectives you'll come across. The difficulty ramps up steadily, and the game's pacing is really well thought out.
The game also does an excellent job doling out the basics. For instance, some of the latter levels will task you with editing the actual track in order to make it to the finish line - a fun and easy way of acquainting players with the game's track editor (Sandbox) - and a mole bearing an uncanny resemblance to Resetti from Animal Crossing will pop up out of the ground from time to time with various tidbits of advice.
In spite of its seemingly simple approach, Joe Danger is far from easy. The controls are, for the most part, really tight, making stunt execution pleasurably precise, but the feats before you are nothing short of death-defying. You may find yourself retrying a particular area of a track upward of 20 times before you either nail the segment or give up in frustration. Luckily, longer tracks have check points, so if you die or simply want to redo a portion of a track it's as easy as pressing the Select button.