I know there are lots of problems in the world at this moment in time, but at least we’re not facing my three biggest fears – an alien invasion where we’re all captured and paraded around naked in petting zoos on the moon, fish taking over London, or the invasion of giant robots which are all set to kill us. However the third one is the basis of a new game, Jettomero – but this giant robot isn’t trying to kill us intentionally, he’s trying to save all of human kind.
The game is an original little number which puts you in charge of Jettomero, a giant red robot straight out of a 1950’s sci-fi movie. You find yourself waking up in deep space, and like us, left trying to work out your place in the universe. You can boost/fly in space, but you only have a limited amount of fuel, thus ensuring you have to land on different planets in that particular solar system. When you walk around the planet, the movement is deliberately awkward, making it impossible not to stomp on, and destroy, the cities around you. Jettomero is rather hilarious and constantly has to apologise for destroying things. But by stomping over each planet you will find secrets, including new attachments for your robot body, like a new head, arms, high-heeled robot feet and more. You’re also on the lookout for fuel though; just so you’re able to leave the planet and go off into the universe in order to discover more solar systems. But why? What’s the point?
On a single planet in each solar system, you will discover another giant robot destroying the residents and the cities. Each of these robots has a brilliant Godzilla/Transformer type name and look like evil versions of Jettomero. When you meet, you go into a battle to the death. This involves lasers firing out of your eyes, like a tug of war, and a quick time button mashing mini game appears. If successful you push the lasers towards the evil robot’s head, blowing it clean off and thus saving the planet. Then you’ll find yourself having a robot meltdown and through a dream another mini game appears. Here you are left to play through a puzzle/find the cypher type game, where the point is to unlock a descriptive paragraph of words. When this is completed it unleashes a comic storyboard, highlighting the origin story of the robot and his purpose in the universe.
All these elements play out extremely well and the gameplay is not only very unique, but hugely unusual and a lot of fun. Bounding around the planets, accidentally stomping on cities and looking for giant robots to fight is every young child’s dream. The puzzles can be hard, but are really interesting to try and decipher. The main problem I had though is that the game follows the same format and doesn’t deviate from that, so if you don’t like the gameplay there is nothing else to make that journey better – Fly, land, kill giant robot, decipher, fuel up and fly again. Then just as you feel that Jettomero has properly begun, the main story is over – after killing just nine robots.
You then have the option of ending it all, or exploring the randomly generated universe. Ideally you’ll hit the latter as there’s then more narrative to discover. It’s still way too short for me though, and even though there are secrets to find, I’d gotten over half of them from my first playthrough and the impulse to go back too often didn’t really appeal. With that in mind, if Jettomero: Hero of the Universe was under the £10 mark then I would say fair enough, crack on. But the price just pushes it over the edge.
Mind you, the story itself is great and the writing is witty. The world the developers have created, and the art style accompanying it, is charming and delightful. The cartoon graphics, with comic book cut scenes are a delight to watch and spend some time in. The robot designs are fun, while giving the odd nod and wink at their influences. The extra accessories you can put on Jettomero, with his multi-outfit choices, can be hilarious and the soundtrack you’ll get to listen in on as you travel through space is dreamy and quite beautiful.
Overall there is a lot to love about Jettomero: Hero of the Universe – it is original and quirky, has some amazing little mini-games and delivers a sad lonely story about being a robot all alone in the universe. The main story is way too short and even though you can go back in and knock off all the achievements whist finding another secret ending, it still feels like you are left short changed. I do admire games like this, but the price is just too high; when it drops then this will be one of those a must-have experiences.
Giant robots battling in space with laser eyes? The Oscar winning screenplay writes itself.