JumpJet Rex is the second game developed by the small indie studio TreeFortress. The game was originally released on Steam in April 2015, and now, thanks to LOOT Interactive it has been ported into Xbox One.
TreeFortress describes JumpJet Rex as “a punishing, old school 2-D platformer with a modern time-trial twist”. Whilst that isn’t exactly true, Treefortress are far from telling lies. Although JumpJet Rex relies on the aesthetics used in some of the famous platformers like Super Mario Bros from the ’80s and ’90s, the best way to describe its genre is not as a platform game, but instead as a “platflyer”. This is due to the fact that instead of just walking around you will end up flying through the levels. As with many of the good old platform games that I’ve played throughout my gamer life, Jumpjet Rex can be as much as addictive and fun to play as Super Mario or Sonic.
You all know how the dinosaurs were made extinct from Earth right? A big asteroid collided with our planet and wiped almost all life from the globe. Well, in JumpJet Rex the same is about to happen, but this time, dinosaurs are an evolved civilization who have already discovered space travel and pretty much all the same stuff that mankind has discovered throughout the years. A massive asteroid is coming towards Earth and since the Dino Council doesn’t have time to build a missile to destroy it, the only hope relies on Rex – the astronaut T-Rex equipped with a pair of jump jet boots. These boots allow him to infinitely jump, rocket and dash in any direction.
JumpJet Rex offers a wide variety of level designs. From Ice levels with spike obstacles to stark and cold space stations with electric blocks and through to a tree themed level with spiked vines. There’s even a level that looks like an old-school GameBoy and these are just a few examples of the wide variety of themes that come about through each of the 40 levels presented in the game.
Each stage grants you a maximum of three stars that you need to collect in order to unlock the next area, or open up and unlock the boss level that will grant you further passage. The stars are earned by completing the level, completing the level without dying and completing the level under a certain time. Just finishing the stages isn’t that hard, even if you end up dying a dozen of times to do so, but since you need to collect stars in order to unlock the future areas you will need to complete at least half of the extra objectives in some of the levels in order to be able to play the final boss level.
Regardless of whether you opt to pass the levels without dying or spend time trying to earn the time star, it won’t be easy. Some of the levels can be a real pain to complete without dying and I’ve found myself replaying one of the levels more than 30 times just so I could finally beat it without dying. As for the time limits some might seem a bit impossible to do, but thankfully Jumpjet Rex has the possibility to access the level Leaderboard and select the ghost of another player, even if he/she isn’t your Xbox Live friend. You can use this ghost as a guide in order to beat the time limit. Either way expect a lot of repetition while playing JumpJet Rex.
Being a “platflyer”, there is one aspect that couldn’t be missed in JumpJet Rex and that would be the usual coin collection and some secrets treasures scattered among the levels. The coins themselves don’t actually have much use other than going to the shop station and spending them on extra customization items – heads, extra colours for the character body, boots and the trail left by your jumps and dashes can all be amended. As for the secret treasures, they will pretty much give you extra stuff that will be added to your base as decorative items. These come in the form of things such as posters, Incan head masks and, my personal favourite, a giant strip of bacon.
Besides the standard story mode, there are also two extra modes that allow you to play the campaign in different ways. One is called Rage Quit Rex, and in here you will have only three lives to complete the entire game. If you thought the standard mode was hard to complete, imagine doing it with only three lives. The other one is called Speed Run, and as the name implies the objective is to beat the game in the fastest way possible. Besides these single player modes, you can also choose to play it with a friend in a two-player co-op mode or gather up four friends and fight it out in some T-Rex Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, King of the Hill and more in the Arena Battles. You can also jump into the Party Games for some fun with a bunch of mini-games.
In terms of graphics and soundtrack, JumpJet Rex features a retro 8-bit style that truly gives you that old school charm of the past. Combining it with the chiptune soundtrack really makes it stand out and achieve a respectable place amongst games like Super Mario, Sonic and Mega Man.
To sum up, if you are looking for a game that combines that old school feeling with some modern aspects then JumpJet Rex is definitely a game that you must play. Although you may start by simply playing the levels in order to reach the games conclusion, sooner or later you will find yourself more concerned in getting all the stars and fighting your way through the leaderboards of each level in order to become the king of the dinosaurs.