Jet Kave Adventure (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Justin Prinsloo 16.09.2019

Review for Jet Kave Adventure on Nintendo Switch

Jet Kave Adventure is a 2.5D platformer developed exclusively for the Nintendo Switch by 7Levels. It aims to emulate the Donkey Kong Country series with its fast-paced platforming action - indeed, the developer has even stated that Donkey Kong was a major inspiration. 7Levels is a small team of less than ten designers, but this is nothing to sniff at; the products of teams this size and smaller can often be some of gaming's greatest treasures. Is Jet Kave Adventure one such title?

Jet Kave Adventure is, in 7Levels' words, a "stone-fiction" title that tells the story of Kave the caveman, a former clan chief who is exiled by his tribe before stumbling upon a crashed UFO and salvaging a jetpack from the wreckage. What follows is a prehistoric sci-fi adventure. As Kave, the player traverses through a handful of levels (36, to be precise), fighting dinosaurs and aliens with the help of a slingshot, club and, of course, a jetpack. Kave can crouch, jump and dash using the jetpack, as well as hover for a limited time with fuel that miraculously recharges upon landing. His tools can also be upgraded between levels to increase the jetpack's fuel capacity and make his weapons a little stronger, as well as lengthen his health bar.

For the most part, the controls are what should be expected of something that aspires to the greatness of Donkey Kong: responsive and slick, aiding the character to move smoothly and easily through the levels. There are some frustrating niggles, though. For example, Kave can jump from wall to wall to extend his traversal height, but the timing in doing so is a little less precise than most of his other movements. It's a sad truth that one simple flaw can ruin a character's whole move set in a game like this, as it detracts from the feeling of fluidity, and this example is no exception.

Screenshot for Jet Kave Adventure on Nintendo Switch

Nevertheless, overcoming some of the platforming challenges can be rewarding, and it's good fun to speed through the levels without stopping. The backdrops are also beautifully designed, boasting various locations from glowing caverns to tropical beaches. The main flaw with the levels, though, is that the platforming variety is sorely lacking. While it all requires precision - no mindless swinging of the club or thoughtlessly using the jetpack will suffice - the levels don't do much to distinguish themselves from each other, leading Jet Kave Adventure to become repetitive very quickly. The game does attempt to freshen things up frequently by providing unique challenges in every other stage, such as a paraglider segment and a survival challenge as well as infrequent boss fights, but even here it doesn't take long for one to grow weary of what's on offer.

Furthermore, the experience isn't as challenging as its genre contemporaries. Health is restored at each checkpoint and if the player dies they are immediately respawned at the last one without any cost. To further compound the issue, dying is often a matter of player error rather than a genuine gameplay challenge. Elsewhere, there is some noteworthy variety in enemy designs, but the strategies to defeat them aren't diverse enough. If a title is going to be this straightforward mechanically, it needs to hinge on being challenging in order to maintain your interest. Here, Jet Kave Adventure stumbles big time.

To make matters worse, the core gameplay loop is reminiscent of the modern mobile gaming format - levels are isolated affairs that are quickly completed and unlocked consecutively, with the player being returned to the linear level menu between each stage. It's clear that 7Levels were hoping to make this experience familiar to avid mobile gamers, but hardcore platforming fans will likely be disappointed with the layout and the barebones nature of what's on offer here. This is unfortunate, as the developers have done a good job in conceptualising this game and in making the movement feel fluid. It's just that Jet Kave Adventure disappoints in almost every other area.

Screenshot for Jet Kave Adventure on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Jet Kave Adventure is a noble effort from 7Levels and mechanically it does show some promise, but it also becomes repetitive quite fast as it fails to nail the smart level design and addictive platforming action of its contemporaries. The level art is gorgeous and does a great job to enliven the sci-fi-imbued prehistoric world that the developer has created, but the platforming itself is far too uniform and simplistic to retain the player's interest. As such, it's best suited to short play sessions but even here, the experience shows too many frustrating cracks to be memorable.

Developer

7Levels

Publisher

7Levels

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date 17.09.2019   North America release date 17.09.2019   Japan release date 17.09.2019   Australian release date 17.09.2019   

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