Longtime gamers may remember a deluge of action platformers back in the first half of the 1990s. Everyone has fond memories of the smash hits, like Super Mario World and Sonic the Hedgehog, but those really into video games back then will no doubt have fond (and not maybe not so fond) memories of games like Aero the Acrobat, Bubsy the Bobcat, and even games based on brands, like Yo Noid!, Cool Spot, and Mick & Mack Global Gladiators (those last two are great games). There was a sort of prehistoric renaissance as well with Bonk’s Adventure on the TurboGrafx-16, Joe & Mac on the Super NES, and Chuck Rock on the Sega CD.
Last generation saw the death of many third party studios that would have normally put out what I’d called B and C tier games, but with the onslaught of indie studios we’re not only getting those back in spades, we’re also seeing a bunch of surprisingly high quality titles that demand our attention. Jet Kave Adventure is a throwback to the heyday of platform gaming, but the problem is there has been so much competition in this genre that it’s difficult to stand out unless you’re really good or have the pedigree of a company like Nintendo backing up your product.
Most smaller games of this ilk feature an 8-bit or 16-bit art style to really tickle your nostalgia bone. The first thing I noticed upon playing the first level of Jet Kave Adventure is how much it was trying to ape Donkey Kong Country Returns. It has similar graphics and even the backgrounds are completely 3D instead of the typical 2D backdrops. This isn’t a bad thing and I quite enjoyed the visuals throughout the game, even if they never quite reach the highs of Retro’s games. The jungle setting is fully on display here with vibrant and colorful scenery to run through and explore. The game still plays like a typical 2D platformer, but the 2.5D graphics really pop on the Switch screen.
The premise of the game is rather simple and sweet. You’re a caveman, aptly named Kave, who happens across some alien technology and in the wreckage discovers a futuristic jetpack. It turns out the alien who crashed on the planet is in need of a huge energy source to repair his ship. He sets off toward a volcano in the distance, where he’s going to cause an eruption to harness the energy. Of course this would be disastrous for Kave and his friends, so you must stop this from happening. With your new jetpack you essentially gain a double jump with the power to hover a small distance. This also opens up a new power where you can press the R shoulder button to slow down time and aim a purple arrow. When you let go of the button Kave will launch himself in that direction, destroying most things in his path, including some walls and even enemies. There’s an energy meter that limits the amount of flying you can do. Small collectible items scattered about the levels can only be obtained via clever use of the jetpack.
Other than running and jumping, Kave is also equipped with a club to bonk enemies with. Early in your adventure you’ll also obtain a slingshot to shoot enemies from afar. The levels are designed with secret areas in mind, so be on the lookout for anything looking even slightly suspicious. You will also come across meat that you can hold onto to replenish your health if you start getting low.
Probably the low point of the audiovisual package is the music. It’s sort of just there and very typical of what you might expect in a prehistoric game of this type. The usual grunts and groans sound like they were ripped right out of some public domain. You won’t be humming any tunes from this one, that’s for sure.
In the end Jet Kave Adventure offers up an entertaining experience, albeit one that you’ve played before. It offers nothing completely new or original and sort of just goes through the motions. If you’ve played your fair share of all the platformers offered on the Switch and are still itching for something more, this one should fill the void nicely. It doesn’t do anything wrong and the difficulty is a bit on the easy side, but it also doesn’t do anything revolutionary to help it stick out from the pack. I appreciate the work that went into the graphics and the jetpack mechanic is fun to play around with, but with very little deviation in enemy designs and pretty straightforward platforming action the game does little to surprise.
Jet Kave Adventure Review
- Graphics - 8/108/10
- Sound - 4/104/10
- Gameplay - 7/107/10
- Lasting Appeal - 6.5/106.5/10
Final Thoughts: WORTH CONSIDERING
Jet Kave Adventure checks all the boxes for what a sidescrolling action platformer should be, but it doesn’t go above and beyond to create a lasting impression. What’s here is solid and there are some fun levels to play through. The soundtrack is pretty boring, but the graphics are pretty to look at and the jetpack gameplay mechanic is enjoyable. This is a good pick up if you’re yearning for more platforming on a system filled with platformers.