In the brilliant comedy series “I’m Alan Partridge” there was a scene where a desperate Alan throws out a collection of TV ideas to a disinterested BBC controller. One of those ideas was Monkey Tennis, something which has since become the benchmark for unusual TV pitches. If, however, you were pitching a game to a bunch of publishers and suddenly blurted out “A caveman with a jetpack” then you will gather up about as much enthusiasm as Alan did back in the day. That said, this is the premise of Jet Kave Adventure, and it’s exactly what you imagine it might be. But is it any good?
Jet Kave Adventure is set in the times when cavemen and dinosaurs shared the same space, and yes I know cavemen and dinosaurs never shared the same timeline but we’ll go with it. You play a caveman called Kave who is a bit of a rebel, chief of his tribe – a hairy maverick if you may. He is ousted from his home and thrown out to fend for himself, yet as he walks away he comes across an alien who has crash-landed his ship. This alien has a plan to fuel his ship by starting a volcanic eruption, unfortunately destroying the world. It is here where Kave finds a jetpack from the spaceship and it is left up to him to save the day…
The story isn’t the important thing in Jet Kave Adventure, but it’s fun and quite happy to be totally historically inaccurate. The main purpose of this game is to have some platforming fun and, frankly, you will have loads of that. I can guarantee it.
Things play out much like a Donkey Kong Country platformer from the 1990s; that isn’t a criticism but something that plays to its strengths. It’s a game that is colorful, exciting, and easy to just pick up and play. You start off with just the basic amount of skills – you can jump in the air, you can hit with a bone, and you can smash any objects in your way. You also come equipped with a health bar complete with a trio of hearts that get taken away if you make contact with an enemy or smash into something dangerous. Thankfully Kave can collect food on his travels so that if a heart or life is lost, you can replenish that heart with some food; something which is handy and much-needed as progression is made. There are also checkpoints that are needed, but you should be aware that whilst these work fine during the game, dare to switch off and you’ll be left at the beginning of the level again.
What makes Jet Kave Adventure immediately interesting is the early introduction of said jetpack. Here you have the ability to double jump, and – if you have enough jetpack fuel – are able to utilise this with a special thrust of the jetpack. When this happens time slows down, you point in the direction you want to go and the jetpack speeds you upwards, downwards, left or right. This is great for getting to hard to reach places up in the sky or for zooming past traps and enemies. It’s a great feature that ensures the gameplay – and Jet Kave Adventure as a whole – is rather unique when compared to other platformers on the market. It’s also later used to fly through the air, seeing you going from fuel canister to fuel canister to keep you afloat, whilst also helping in the movement of huge blocks with the special power, or for opening doorways and secret compartments by activating levers.
As with most games, there are boss battles to be had too, leaving you to learn the movement of any enemy, before striking when you get the chance. Further to that and things move up a notch with huge sections that see you chased by creatures; woolly mammoths or large pterodactyls where timing is essential as you have to run and jump through dangers in seriously tricky circumstances. I’ll admit to hating these sections and pretty much any other moments when chase rules would apply.
Visually and Jet Kave Adventure has a lovely colour palette that complements the jungle and seaside levels well. The cartoon-like drawings of the main cavepeople and all the enemies would happily find a home and place alongside bigger, more established platformers like Crash Bandicoot or Donkey Kong. It’s all well put together too, as is the soundtrack which is both pleasant and jolly, with some good effects used throughout.
Jet Kave Adventure on Xbox is something that you’ll begin to enjoy the more you progress. The extra gameplay features that are brought about via the use of the jetpack add a new dimension to the platforming genre and manage to give the game a sense of urgency and speed. However, whilst those elements are good, I could easily do without the chase sequences and the boss fights are quite bland. But if you’re looking for an old school platformer that will give you some good old-fashioned fun without breaking the mould, all whilst mixing in jetpacks and cavemen for good measure, it’s probably worth giving Jet Kave Adventure a little look.