With bold fonts, bright visuals and an electronic theme Jump Jet Rex makes it clear from the start that you’re heading back to the early 90’s for an arcade experience.
Everyone knows that dinosaurs where around long before humans, however not many will know that dinosaurs actually invented space travel, and it’s our good friend Rex who was the first dinonaut.
Forced into space with news of an asteroid bearing down on earth, it’s up to you (Rex) to save all dinosaur kind from extinction.
The aim of the game is to get to the goal of each level collecting golden rings to open passageways, and coins to boost your score, it all sounds pretty simple and it is, but in true old school fashion, it can be pretty challenging.
Similar to most side scrolling platformers you’ve ever played, there’ll be various obstacles and enemies, but the main aspect you’ll be concentrating on is speed.
Rex has some nifty rocket boots, which allow him to jump using ‘A’ gaining altitude with air jumps, and dropping down to the ground quicker when you hit the ‘B’ button. ‘X’ and ‘Y’ allow you to boost horizontally or vertically which is great for bypassing dangerous areas quickly.
Jump Jet Rex soon felt familiar and James Pond 2 : Robocod is one game that came to mind, though with much more airborn gameplay. There’s also elements from the mobile frustration game Flappy Bird.
Jump Jet Rex isn’t an endless runner, but to get the third star from a level you’ll need to complete the stage in a set time, and this is when the accuracy and speed have to be spot on otherwise you’ll be revisiting those Flappy Bird frustration moments time and time again.
Earning all 3 stars from a level isn’t always necessary, but the targets seem well enough balanced that you’ll actually want to try again rather than just racing on to the next level and repeating the levels to chase that third star is where Rex really throws up a challenge.
Another reason for this could be the repetitive nature that’s expected in arcade era gaming, the task of getting from A to B, avoiding enemies and objects, and timing your jumps and boosts has been done time and time again, and with little fresh from one level to the next, it’s natural that things start to feel a little stale.
Thankfully the challenge factor is enough to keep you going, and obviously the knowledge that you could save the Earth (and by default, every poor defenseless dinosaur on it) is enough of an incentive to at least try a few more levels.
Both graphically and with the audio, it suits the target era perfectly, James Pond, Zool, Cool Spot, Mario and Megaman to name a few. Those platform games from the late 80’s and early 90’s. Jump Jet Rex fits in to that list nicely (except it’s been made 25-30 years later.
After half an hour with Jump Jet Rex, it feels very true to it’s roots, and much more like a 25 year old arcade game than a new modern creation.
This is great for those looking for a retro challenge, but also frustrating when so many titles do the same thing, personally, I like to see modern gameplay with next gen graphics, audio a enhancements, but for core nostalgia it’s hard to criticize Jump Jet Rex.
Obviously there are some criticisms, levels soon feel far too familiar, enemies are pretty diverse, sometimes annoyingly so. But the levels all start to blend into one of four backgrounds and it’ll be tough to remember exactly which one you want if your looking back for a certain one.
My other criticism, is that Jump Jet Rex seems firmly aimed at younger gamers, but it’s the older generations who will gain the most from it for the trip down memory lane.
Introducing children to how unforgiving and challenging games used to be could be the aim of the game, but your sure to have an enjoyable few evenings trying to master the levels and pick up as many stars as possible on your way.
Jump Jet Rex suffers a little with it’s identity, it wants to be a childrens game, but it’s far better at being a nostalgic remembrance for gamers who remember the glory days of side scrolling platform titles.
For adults looking for a game to share with their children, maybe show what gaming used to be like, Jump Jet Rex’s qualities certainly shine as long as your willing to sit by your child and hold their hand when they fail again and again and again.