What if Donkey Kong Country did an indie study? The result could be something similar to what the Polish 7Levels poses in a very interesting videogame, with a very challenging platform and a performance that is sometimes brilliant. We discover in our analysis of Jet Kave Adventure other platforms to consider for your Nintendo Switch.
The video games of the Donkey Kong Country saga set a precedent in the way of creating platforms. The precision in the jumps, together with formidable level design, with a varied structure and a spectacular audiovisual section, defined a philosophy that Rare first defended and later Retro Studios. The results are well known: there is no single DKC that has disappointed us to date.
There have not been many who have dared to retake the formula, but I am glad to see that small studies such as the Polish 7Levels have been encouraged. They knew they had a difficult time, mostly because they themselves recognized that those games were the top of Super Nintendo, and without going any further DKC: Tropical Freeze defined it as the best currently in the subgenre. But there they are … About twenty people involved in independently creating a platform adventure that, without reaching the degree of excellence of the work in which it is inspired, provides magical moments, some of the authentic lucidity.
The lower budget allows us to see little varied situations, repetition of scenarios and a finish that, although competent, is somewhat far from the great references. However, Jet Kave Adventure presents a good platform pace and a very interesting degree of challenge. In none of its facets, you will find something at the level of the greats, and it is not fair to compare it … but as a follower of the wake of these referents, it means a welcome experience that joins the competitive platform of the Nintendo Switch platform.
One of cavemen and dinosaurs
An indie study has it complicated to get attention, but one of the most used techniques is to appeal to what is already known by users. Jet Kave Adventure was never raised with the aim of reinventing the genre of 2.5D platforms. Of course, he proposes his own theme and even rules, with a prehistoric man who is involved in an adventure to save his island, threatened by a mysterious alien invader.
The narrative is narrated very much to Nintendo, without long sequences. There are not even dialogues. The action begins instantly, and even when they kill you you immediately return to the jumps. This immediacy is one of the best things in a game that will not take you more than 6-8 hours, with a total of four worlds and 36 levels of increasing difficulty. Not bad numbers for a journey that contains abundant bosses, that although they are not characterized by complex behavior patterns (they are limited to repeating routines faster and faster), they suppose challenges that generated some satisfaction to overcome them.
Thus, the game can be summarized in a future of situations that include tight jumps in a high percentage, with platforms that collapse in our path, enemies that chase us in lateral scrolling or flying parts that include the use of the hang glider. The type of genre, with clear references to the last Donkey Kong Country not only in terms of content but in form. And if not tell the caveman we drive, which drives which Diddy Kong with his jetpack.
It has a good platform pace and a very interesting degree of challenge.
The propulsion backpack is one of the most important platform elements of Jet Kave Adventure, allowing us to float in the air, but also push us (slow-time included). It is the distinctive key of the video game since this impulse can be used to attack enemies, reach distant platforms and even dodge certain offenses carried out by world leaders. Combined with the use of the club and the jumps, it provides an outstanding playable flow, capable of establishing moments of authentic ecstasy in a matter of rhythm.
In this regard, it is positive that the level design is strongly supported in the use of the jetpack, although the trick is valid for three or four levels … Then, unfortunately, the approach loses intensity and becomes somewhat repetitive. It is not simple. Making a good platform means going from less to more, introducing innovative mechanics that change the rhythm of the game, but without breaking it. This game does not but is established in a comfortable space that leads to long-term monotony.
There is no high variety of situations, except for three or four occasions when we change the blows and jumps for an obstacle course in vertical scrolling and some parts in hang gliding that are very similar – even in control – to those sequences of Tropical Freeze in which we were going on jet barrels. It is an interesting exercise to compare both games because these that I have quoted are not the only similarities: there are many more.
For example, the improvement system is very similar. We must collect shells on the stages to increase the life counter, the capacity of the jetpack, the reach of the club … Doing this is part of the replayability since until a second round you will probably not be able to get everything. But even more interesting is that once the phases are completed, the challenges of beating times or of completing them without damage are opened to you. Additionally, each level contains a collectible. There are no more options to expand the duration since it has no cooperative.
It is a graphically modest but remarkable
game. The game can be overcome with relative ease in about 6-8 hours, but competitions can multiply this figure by two. It is not bad data if we consider that it is a product that appears at a reduced price (about 20 euros), with an indie spirit that is appreciated in its general finish. It’s not that it’s bad, nor regular, but there are animations that don’t end up being as soft as you’d like. The best games take care of the details, and Jet Kave Adventure shows the seams a bit, with an abrupt and sometimes imprecise control, especially in the flight sequences.
Let no one expect audiovisual grandiloquence. It is a graphically modest but remarkable game, with a design of enemies sometimes somewhat clonic and a neolithic-alien theme in the visual, which translates into not always inspired designs. Our enemies are strangely transformed insects, plants and dinosaurs that nevertheless fulfill very well their function of hindering our progress. The bosses are not that they appear either, but they are suitable for the intentions that are pursued: to put the complicated things to us.
There are no great displays in the graphics engine, although the game is colorful in most cases, with the occasional lighting effect that brightens the scene. And that is the key: joy manifested in a soundtrack with an always positive tone. It does not stand out from the rest, but it accompanies a correct platform adventure, which without a large budget has achieved something complicated: to recall some of the biggest video games of the genre. With a little more inventiveness, dedication, and staff, I have no doubt that in the future we can see promising things from this study.
Jet Kave Adventure always had a clear intention: to emulate genres like Donkey Kong Country. When you have such a high peak, and more being an indie study, you run the risk of staying halfway, but still you have to be fair and say that we are facing an interesting platform, with a tight level of challenge, a successful duration, certain replayability, and production values appropriate to the type of game it is. Nintendo Switch has great references in this field, and the new 7Levels do not stand out about them, but as an alternative and especially if you like this type of proposal, the recommendation is that you try it. He has enough things to prove.
- Recover playable items from Donkey Kong Country, usually with success
- The use of the jet pack is quite well exploited
- Good duration within the genre platforms, with dose of rejugabilidad
- Although with some ups and downs, there is a good job in the audiovisual section
- Little renewal of mechanics and little variety in level design
- The control can be somewhat rough and inaccurate in some sections