This Xbox Live Arcade game puts the player in control of none other than Joe Danger himself. Joe is a daredevil extrodanaire who enjoys death defying stunts, breakneck speeds and a healthy dose of kleptomania as you search for all of the collectibles in each level. Joe Danger comes to us from Hello Games, a small studio based in Guildford right here in the UK. Looking at their website they look like an incredibly fun studio who love what they do and this definitely comes across in Joe Danger.
Originally released on PSN, this “Special Edition” on XBox adds a few new features, but is essentially the same game.
It is the very epitome of the “Easy to pick up, difficult to master” class of games. The controls are simple with the right and left triggers moving Joe’s motorbike forwards and back. The left thumb stick turns the bike in the air allowing you to perform backward and forward flips. You can make the bike hop; doing this at the start of a jump gives you a little extra height. If your boost bar is full you can also give the bike a speed boost, to refill the boost bar you need to perform stunts. You can also make Joe perform stunts on the bike while in the air using different combinations of taps and holds on the left and right shoulder buttons. These particular stunts get a lot of points as you have to time them perfectly with your jump or you’ll crash when you land.
After the first few levels where you are introduced to the controls and the basic stunts you get to dive right into the meat of the game. Each level has a goal which determines whether you earn a bronze, silver or gold trophy for the level. These goals are usually a certain point score, position in a race, number of targets hit or collectibles picked up. As well as these goals there are sub-goals for each level which may be to find all of the hidden stars in the level, hit all of the targets within a given time, or do the whole level without breaking out of your combo multiplier.
You can replay each level multiple times to do each individual sub goal and this is where the “difficult to master” part comes in. I thought I was doing well going through each level a few times completing all of the goals. I had to do some levels many times especially where time constraints were involved. I was happy that I had been through all of the levels and not missed a single goal… that was until I discovered that there is actually another award for some levels for completing all of the goals in one go. Suddenly all of those levels looked incomplete to me and this new challenge took a whole new approach. No longer could I just leisurely go through the level getting all of the collectibles then go back and get the hidden stars, I had to plan how to do each level in the most efficient way while constantly doing stunts so I didn’t break the multiplier.
Aesthetically, Joe Danger, is quite cartoony with lots of bright colours. There is even a set of levels called “The Laboratory” which share the same premise as the main levels but allowed the artists to create visuals that wouldn’t have fit in otherwise.
Joe Danger is a fun game which combines a few simple ideas to create a something which can also be challenging. I’m pretty sure Hello Games had as much fun developing this game as I did playing it.
9 collectible stars out of 10
Article by Alec Harley