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Posted by drew10 on Jun 17, 2010
Review – Joe Danger – Hello Games – PS3/PSN

Review – Joe Danger – Hello Games – PS3/PSN

Hello Joe!

You know that we at Game4anything like new stuff, whether its new tech, new games or especially new developers. Well slap my thigh if we don’t have two out of the three on offer here.

Joe Danger is the first game from new company Hello Games. Forged from the fires of companies like Criterion, Sumo, Kuju, EA and Climax, Hello Games is a four-man-band that has come about to “set forth on a brave journey of discovery and adventure to bring some new, funky coloured pixels to the world.”

The first step on this adventure is Joe Danger a 3D side-scrolling ‘Stunt-em-up’ for PSN. You play, perhaps unsurprisingly as Joe Danger, once the top stuntman in the world before a terrible accident at the hands of the evil Team Nasty. After defying the doctors by battling to be able to walk again Joe is now back on his bike ready to reclaim his rightful place as the worlds best.

To do this Joe must traverse various levels performing stunts various other tasks to earn coins which will in turn open up new levels. It all sounds pretty straight forward you may think but as the levels progress they become devilishly tricky.

The game as a whole brings many elements from different genres to its stunt-em-up party. Each level has different challenges like collecting coins, stars or the letters that spell out the word D-A-N-G-E-R! You will also need to beat the clock and complete some levels with a 100% combo rating.

The obstacles Joe has to get past range from spikes to hurdles, ramps, loop-the-loops and even giant mousetraps to name but few and with each new section some comes new way to part Joe from his beloved bike!

Controlling Joe is a dream and Hello Games have really tweaked the controls to ensure that at no point in a level can bad controls be blamed for your inability to complete the task. Accelerating on the R2 button sends Joe forward whilst the L2 will stop or reverse should you need to go back to try a section again these buttons can even control your movements in mid-air. Pressing X gives you access to a boost that can only be activated when your boost bar is full but thankfully charging the bar is pretty easy to do. Tapping Square performs  a bunny-hop whilst holding makes Joe crouch low to his bike. The Left stick controls the movements of Joe of the bike you can perform wheelies, endo’s or flips in mid-air all very easily. Combinations of R1 and L1 will perform tricks and grabs whilst in the air. There are lots of combinations you can do to combo your score and all are easy and intuitive to pull off but still require timing to land correctly to get a perfect.

Many of you may think that Joe Danger sounds a lot like XBLA title Trials HD and whilst that is a superb title also Joe Danger adds a huge dollop of humour and charm that Trials fails to deliver. Yes, Joe Danger has his tongue planted firmly in his cheek and provides some brilliant comedy moments, I especially like falling into the shark infested tank! (Now there is a sentence I never thought I would write!) Also while Trials HD goes for a dark moody atmosphere, Joe Danger brings brightness and light to the track and whole piles of those funky coloured pixels Hello Games were talking about.

The graphics are superb as is the animation of Joe himself, with neat touches and great ideas sprinkled throughout. That said the levels could have provided more variation in backgrounds as it feels that while the tracks and obstacles change the setting remains very much the same.

The presentation of the game is first rate with the bright cartoon stylings maintaining the overall feeling of fun that runs throughout the game, Joe Danger brings a smile to your face no matter how old you are. It harps back to games from the 16-bit days and borrows ideas from all over the place, but still manages to feel fresh and original and that is no mean feat in today’s gaming culture.

The in-game audio continues this quality but humorous feel, the music is very deliberately cheesy and the sound effects are all over-the-top as is the American voice announcer. I want to pay a special homage to the wonderful musac that accompanies the pause menu, it simply reeks of Stilton.

Another thing that sets Joe Danger apart is the ability to race a friend in good ol’ fashioned split screen. This adds a whole new dimension to the game with not only some great courses to ride and race over but also the ability to punch your rival off of their bikes. These kind of multiplayer larks have been sorely missing from many of today’s bigger titles. It is simple, effective and hugely enjoyable!  However it is a real shame that there is no online racing included in Joe Danger, how good would it have been to race up to five rivals at once throughout the levels? As far as online is concerned Joe Danger allows instant access to worldwide scoreboards so you can compete with friends in terms of scores if nothing else.

So for a PSN title Joe Danger has a lot to offer, but wait there is more. Added to the massive single-player game and the great split-screen, is the sandbox mode. Yes you guessed it, the sandbox mode allows players to create their own tracks in much the same way as Modnation Racers and Little Big Planet have before. However, unlike these games there is no option to share your creations online, and this is a missed opportunity as far as we are concerned. Still the editor is very simple to use and creating tracks to play on is surprisingly enjoyable and you can create  tracks to use in the split-screen mode.

So I guess by now you are getting the impression that Joe Danger has been a big hit with us here at G4A and you would be right. It is for these kind of games that we thank the gaming gods for PSN and XBLA. The sheer amount of game you get is unbelievable for a price of only £9.99 and many full price releases could learn a great deal from it.

It is a shame that there is not more online functions as racing up to five friends and being able to share user created levels would have made this game even better. For that and that alone it loses a single point but even then Joe Danger is a stunning début  title for Hello Games and we can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next. In the meantime  just need to get through this level.

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One Response to “Review – Joe Danger – Hello Games – PS3/PSN”

  1. Quite a beautiful website. I built mine and i was looking for some design ideas and you gave me a few. May i ask you whether you developed the website by youself?

    Thank you

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