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Jett Rocket (Hands-On) (WiiWare) Preview

Review for Jett Rocket (Hands-On) on WiiWare

Shin’en Multimedia may float slightly under the radar when compared to the big guns of the Industry, yet with each and every release, the studio clearly learns from its past experiences and builds upon the strong foundations it has already built in order to strive to achieve greater heights for the sake of providing gamers with the best possible experience. From its sterling work in the shmup genre with the Iridion and Nanostray titles, to its soundtrack contribution on WayForward’s Sigma Star Saga, the relaxing Zenses series, and even its licensed output, such as Miss Spider, Pet Alien and Strawberry Shortcake. Then there are the recent WiiWare games; the enjoyable Fun! Fun! Minigolf and the unmissable Art of Balance. Shin’en is definitely on a roll. Now, however, it is taking a leaf out of Nintendo’s book for Jett Rocket, a gorgeous-looking 3D platform adventure featuring a small chap with a jet-pack strapped to his back. Read on to see how the game is shaping up so far...

As Jett Rocket loads up, you are instantly met with a sweeping title anthem that is reminiscent of some of the classic Final Fantasy favourites, where players are soaring through the skies in a grand airship, exploring new lands. Here you are merely watching the Jett Rocket logo, with orange and red flames billowing from within the actual text, overlaid on a sunshine-filled, bright blue sky, just above layers of fluffy white clouds. Already the sense of expectation is high! Upon choosing one of the three save files, you can choose to jump straight into the action, or check out what Awards and Gallery images are on offer. To start with, only a 3D snapshot of Jett Rocket himself is on show, with zooming in and out, as well as rotation, opened up for gamers to tinker around with. As for the Awards element, you can take a sneak peek at what achievements you should be aiming for whilst on your journey across the world of Yoroppa. Examples include ‘Run Jett, run!’ (complete a Jungle level in under 3:00 minutes), ‘I have a secret’ (find ten different secrets) and ‘Love of my life’ (collect and keep ten lives).

The game starts with a small introductory sequence where Inspector Jett Rocket introduces himself (with the sort of annoying voice that makes you hope it is used sparingly), before quickly being attacked by the Power Plant Posse (PPP) and knocked from his ship into the undulating waves below; waves that come with water effects to match the gorgeous graphics of Wave Race: Blue Storm on the GameCube. This particularly dastardly group, as explained by a friendly (unvoiced) talking dolphin, is attempting to drain the planet’s energy and pollute everything with its toxic emissions. Jett is tasked with rebooting generators that have been sucked dry by the PPP. Following this, you take the reins and a quick play around reveals that the D-pad on the Wii Remote moves the camera left or right, whilst pressing up will revert it to the default ‘behind the character’ position. The analogue stick of the Nunchuk sets Jett off into a strut around the world, whilst A makes him leap up and down. All the while a peaceful tune plays along in the background, accompanied by the gentle, serene sound effect of the waves lapping against the shore.

Screenshot for Jett Rocket (Hands-On) on WiiWare

Once on dry land, Jett can head over to one of the nearby drones to get some advice, first of all on the camera controls, then on where to head, which for now is the nearest generator so that he can return to his airbase in order to start powering it back up with energy cells. When running around, if you shake the Wii Remote it will make him dash, and jumping then shaking results in Jett slamming the ground, which is extraordinarily handy for activating switches (to start conveyor belts, open up teleportation pads, and so on). After returning to his airbase, it quickly becomes apparent that certain teleport pads can only be used if enough Solar Cells have been collected, with the first blocked worlds requiring 200 and 550 cells before Jett can be transported to them. One is available, though, which takes you through to Atoll, the first world. This location is split into several separate missions, the first of which is to reach the mountaintop located there. For anyone so far wondering where the ‘Rocket’ part of the game’s title comes into play, it is here, where the first guidance drone you come across informs you that power must be collected in order to energise the jetpack. This is obtained by standing on special panels and shaking the Wii Remote from side-to-side until the energy meter is totally full. Then it is a simple case of pressing A, then tapping and holding it down to float around until the meter once more depletes (rather like the Bumble Bee form that Mario takes in the Super Mario Galaxy games).

Screenshot for Jett Rocket (Hands-On) on WiiWare

When firmly rooted on the ground again, making use of the shake-and-roll technique not only comes in handy for despatching various PPP enemies, but also allows Jett to smash into various objects, such as trees, and potentially uncover some secrets (hearts that extend the initial heart bar limit from the standard three, for example). Slamming into the ground wherever you see an ‘X’ indentation can also lead to secrets, like extra solar cells. There are various other objectives throughout a level, not only reaching the end goal; in one specific scenario, Jett must find batteries hidden around the level to power a large artefact that will then launch him into a new section of the surroundings. When reaching the end of the stage, the game will count how many cells were collected, with as many collected as possible being imperative to open up new teleportation devices.

Then it is time to move onto the next part of first world; Jett Ride, where you jump on a jet ski and (albeit slowly) ride along the bouncing waves, collecting as many cells as possible whilst trying to avoid the mines bobbing up and down, all the while trying to reach the goal where your dolphin friend awaits, before the clock runs out. Back in the Mario-like worlds, after that slight diversion from the 3D adventuring path, there are timed-based puzzles, where a certain number of panels must be highlighted before the timer runs out; areas where carefully timed jumps are required to launch from one floating propeller to another; and even parachute jumps where Jett must be guided along, slowly descending and the player must judge the right time to leap upwards, discarding the parachute and use rocket power to launch him the rest of the way towards an otherwise unreachable destination. Shin’en Multimedia has attempted to not merely make this a Super Mario Galaxy clone, but pour real blood, sweat and tears into this wonderful 3D platform romp and show how WiiWare releases should be done.

Screenshot for Jett Rocket (Hands-On) on WiiWare

Kaiser Taikai is the first and only boss of this preview edition, a creature whom you meet after solving a simple bomb-switch puzzle, dodging some fire hazards and scaling a great height by carefully jumping from platform-to-platform, with a little jet-propelled help along the way. Kaiser Taikai is a large, mechanical beast encapsulated in a glass dome. Around the arena, short bursts of fire appear every now and then, whilst the monster frequently launches bombs and missiles in your direction. The aim here is to run around the circular arena, waiting for bombs to land, before picking them up and throwing them at his protective casing. Three hits and he is out for the count, yet this is not quite as simple as it may sound thanks to the numerous dangers lying in wait and being hurled in your direction. When the third and final bomb has been launched at the boss, the first energy pod is retrieved and sent back to your airbase for installation. By this point, enough solar cells will also have been collected to open up World 2, though in this build progression beyond World 1 is not possible.

Overall, whilst there are indeed some shortcuts taken with the visuals, with the draw distance being visibly shorter than in most Wii games, it is very easy to forget that Shin’en is not working on a full retail game here and end up unfairly criticising it. In fact, though, Jett Rocket is a WiiWare game where the file size constraint is a meagre 43MB in total. However, in the face of such adversity, the German development team has used some fantastic coding, compression techniques and little tricks to make this look as attractive as possible.

Screenshot for Jett Rocket (Hands-On) on WiiWare

Worth waiting for?

From the first few stages shown so far, which constitute the extent of ‘World 1,’ Jett Rocket is already a clear contender for WiiWare Game of the Year, if not 2010’s best Wii game in general. The only minor issue spotted so far is with the camera, which is almost perfect throughout, yet becomes a little temperamental when Jett is too close to a large object, with it being hard to position the camera exactly where you want and it trying to force itself into a position you did not ask for. Other than this, and perhaps a rather non-descript main character with a voice that could potentially get on your nerves after a short while, Jett Rocket is an almost near-perfect product and one that Shin’en should be applauded for. The final release cannot come soon enough!

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08.06.2010

5

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Developer

Shin'en Multimedia

Publisher

Shin'en

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (3 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Preview

Jay (guest) 08.06.2010 18:08#1

Great game and preview! Thats what i call a must have! I wonder if Shin'en has now reached its peak with that title?

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Certainly not! Shin'en can only go higher and higher. If the hype surrounding this turns into sales success, then expect much more from the team. The next project after this is a racing one, with talk of 60fps and four-player splitscreen being mentioned around the 'Net.

I'm hoping this rides on the coat-tails of SMG, rather than being squashed by it...

I still want Shin'en to do a WiiWare shmup! Even porting Nanostray 2 straight to WiiWare would do me fine Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

I would like to see what they can achieve with a full retail game considering that they achieved this with only 40 MB of space. Can you imagine if they had 1 GB to work with?

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Shin'en has always been masterful at getting the most out of limited resources. Nanostray 2 still looks amazing to this very day. Jett Rocket was stunning to watch on my HDTV through that HD upscaler I reviewed recently. It really is like SMG-mini.

The team need to work on their character creation, though Smilie Jett looks a little too 'generic' unfortunately.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Roger72 (guest) 11.06.2010 17:18#5

This looks just like a mini version of SMG! Wow! This'll do me nicely when I've finished with SMG2!!

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