Joe Danger is a man who likes to take risks. Joe Danger performs death-defying movie stunts. Joe Danger is a pilchard from Guilford who has his own bed at The Royal Surrey Hospital. Skis, jet packs, motorcycles, a miner’s cart – Joe Danger 2: The Movie is a cartoon stunt game that’s brimming with fun and overflowing with humour. January blues? Backflip and somersault your way back to your happy place with this little piece of Vita Joy. It’s flippin’ brilliant.
Joe is a lucky guy to star in so many blockbuster movies. Indiana Bones and the Temple of Boom have him flipping his mine cart through dangerous mineshafts. View to a Chill and Dr Snow see him dodging rockets, trying to out-ski a rushing avalanche and ducking and diving to avoid motion detectors. Cold Finger flings him into a jetpack. Beverly Thrills Cop has him on a police bike chasing down crooks and apprehending them with a heroic Hollywood bunch of fives. And don’t forget Joe-Rassic Park and Demolition Van. Each Act has multiple levels, or rather multiple scenes, and you’ll collect big fat gold stars for your achievements within each scene. Collect all the pick-ups, the hidden star, finish within a set time, perform stunt combos or collect bananas. Each scene’s challenges will vary so also expect to earn stars for dismantling missiles, shutting down robots, not setting off alarms and other mad movie machinations. Some levels are harder than others and of course it’s all fun and games until somebody loses a banana.
If you’re anything like me, you’re all fingers, thumbs and big toes when it comes to stunt games and tricks, and in real life you can barely do a half-arsed roly poly down a thickly carpeted hallway, but do not fear, for this is not Trials Fusion. Joe Danger is, first and foremost, fun. It’s tricky (haha) in places, yes, but it’s not at all frustrating or difficult to master. The left trigger takes you forwards, the right trigger takes you backwards, the left stick flips you forward or backwards and allows you to do wheelies, and X will give you a temporary boost of speed. This boost bar will need to re-filled before it can be used again, but luckily a few flips and tricks will fill it up quickly and easily. Square and Triangle will are the two main trick buttons. A combination of these mid-air and holding them until the very moment before you land will fill up that boost bar long before you can shout ‘Call an ambulance!’
You’ll need a certain amount of those achievement stars to unlock later levels, so you’ll probably need to go back to earn more. I just picked my favourite movie and scenes and zoned in on those. Once you’ve got an achievement within a level, there’s no need to concentrate on it again. Just go for the missing achievements. You could go for the speed achievement and zoom through the level ignoring everything else around you. You could just disarm the missiles and screw the bananas. Each level has a combination of choices that mean you can play whatever you feel like playing. If you’re a speed demon, great. If you’re an OCD collector, terrific. If you’re a stunt stud, break a leg.
There’s nothing serious about this game. It’s a cheeky bite-sized stunt racer. You could sit and play all day because it definitely has that ‘Once you pop you can’t stop’ factor, but I also found it perfect for pulling out of my pocket for a quick race between my soaps, while waiting for the kettle to boil or the chip shop to open – you know, the important life stuff. The point is, we all have busy schedules, but this is definitely one that can be played in shorts bursts if you need to, and there’s plenty of content to keep you going. Don’t forget to check out the deleted scenes and downloadable tours. Also play as Sackboy, Steve from Minecraft or a nice selection of other characters. Personally, Joe is the man for me, but different spokes and all that.
Now, allow me to put on my technical hat (a red turtle shell with a LEGO Batmobile stuck to one side in a jaunty cavalier style). Joe Danger 2: The Movie runs at 60 fps. Gameplay is as smooth as a kitten’s ears. There are no framerate issues, no glitches, no bugs, and no nasty surprises. Hello Games are the guys working on No Man’s Sky. If the quality of the programming in Joe Danger is anything to go by, we are in for the smoothest spaceship ride in the known and unknown universe. Although I’m not sure we’ll be allowed to fly it with one leg in the air and no hands.
Joe Danger 2: The Movie is pure fun and laughs, and the Vita is a lucky little handheld to get it. Its big screen antics are perfect for the small screen with bright and colourful graphics and smooth gameplay. Download this and you’ll be zooming, roaring, flying, rolling and sliding your way to hours and hours of entertainment. Never has a broken neck felt this good.
S J Hollis Rating – 8/10