Jetboard Joust – Review
Follow Genre: Action, Rogue-like
Developer: Bitbull Ltd
Publisher: Freedom! Games
Platform: PC, Switch
Tested On: PC

Jetboard Joust – Review

Site Score
8.5
Good: Frantic Gameplay, Good Graphic and Sound Design
Bad: No Story, Brutal Difficulty
User Score
10.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Jetboard Joust can be considered a mash-up of multiple genres. On the surface, it’s shown to be a typical 2D side-scroller, similar to previous titles like RESOGUN for the PlayStation 4. Underneath, however, is a love-letter to the hectic bullet-hell SHMUP genre, with heavy rogue-like elements, and needless to say it all blends in a nearly perfect way.

Story 

For the most part, Jetboard Joust does not have any story at all. No synopsis or summaries, lore, or collectibles that describes anything about the game or the main goal. The only information that is shown is the brief instructions on how the game is played. The main character is an unknown alien humanoid armed with a weaponized jetboard, tasked to save these tiny humanoid creatures from alien invaders.

Graphics

Jetboard Joust’s appearance and presentation can be compared to some of the best pixelated graphics to date, competing with the likes of Enter The Gungeon and Undertale. From the start screen, the player is welcomed to vibrant colors with layered distortions in the background at a steady frame rate of 60FPS. Weirdly enough, there isn’t an option to switch screen size leaving the game only playable in full-screen. There are options to adjust camera tracking and screen shaking which is heavily noticeable when fighting multiple enemies on screen, which can be very helpful to certain players.

During gameplay, the game runs perfectly with no dips or stutters in frame rate. During combat, however, is where the graphics truly shine. When firing different weapons and evading etc, the particle and lighting effects take center stage. Each weapon when firing has a different audible effect, ranging from lasers, fire, and even standard ballistics like missiles and grenades, with explosive weapons lighting up the majority of the screen with colors based on the stage.

The same can be said for the enemies, especially the bosses. There are over 50 different enemy types in the game, with the majority of the lot looking absolutely different from each other. The colors used and the pixelated details when it comes to the enemy attacks and effects are top-notch, compensating for how generic the main character and the NPCs look. Ranging from robots, insects and mutants, the variety is staggering with the amount of detail put into each enemy.

Sound

The sound design in Jetboard Joust is also well done. The music can best be described as depressive and monotone. Especially in the main menus or after level completion, it adds this unique touch of being atmospheric, like the world the player is in is desolate and depressing. This makes sense considering the main character is alone in its quest to save the planet’s people from the mysterious invaders.

During combat, the music takes a complete U-turn, sacrificing the mellow vibes in favor of heavy EDM that somehow syncs well with combat. Sound effects with weapons are well done also, especially with the more futuristic weapons like the Plasma Cannon or the Gravity Hammer. Paired up with the screen shaking and particle effects, it’s an enjoyable treat. Considering how the sound effects and music are so well done, the game is best played with a headset to get the full experience.

Gameplay

Jetboard Joust is a 2D side scroller bullet-hell with rogue-like elements. The game can be played with either a standard keyboard or a controller with full support. As mentioned earlier, the main goal of each level is to eliminate all enemies on-screen, while saving the NPCs from being abducted. If the player is too late when saving the NPCs, they will turn into mutants with more HP than the standard enemies, requiring players to act quickly and prioritizing saving NPCs first.

The player has the option to move freely in all directions, with the option to shoot and dash, the latter being very strong and making the player immune to damage, making it very important when being swarmed from both sides. The dash, however, is limited and can only be refueled when collecting certain drops from fallen enemies. If the player defeats multiple enemies in a row quickly, a combo multiplier starts. The higher the multiplier, the higher the bonus when it comes to the player’s overall score and currency, which can be used to buy upgrades to the main character, jetpack, and weapons after the level is successfully completed.

After each level is completed, an optional bonus room is made available, offering weapons, currency, and upgrades. If this route is taken, the player will have to fight a random boss in order to collect the spoils. Overall, the game is challenging but these fights are even more difficult, requiring smart movement and pacing as it is very easy to get overwhelmed.

When the very first level is completed, the upgrade screen and level selection are made available, and this is where the rogue-like elements come into effect. Using the currency the player collects, they have the option to either buy permanent upgrades for the base character, the jetboard, or any of the weapons collected for that run. If the player dies, then it’s back to the first level and the grind resets. The player does have the option to buy additional lives at the cost of a hefty number of coins, so it’s best to be smart about buying items.

Also when the stages are completed, the player has the option to pick and choose the next. On the level select screen, the stages are separated by colored layers and icons, with blue being the easiest and red being the hardest and most likely a boss battle. The icons show what kind of level it is, as well as the benefits, such as picking a stage where the enemies are more difficult in exchange for extra currency. The option to select stages adds more variety to the gameplay, as the player can personally tailor it to their own playstyle, making each run unique.

Conclusion

Jetboard Joust is a fun rogue-like game with plenty of replayability. Aside from having no story, the game thrives on its unique pixelated graphics, good sound design, and addictive gameplay. With the option to pick and choose levels for different runs and builds, this game is well worth the pick.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Jetboard Joust - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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