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Joe Danger: First great download game of 2010

It's Guitar Hero on wheels

Seriously, stick with us on this one. We can justify that statement. You see while Joe’s gleefully frenetic 2D hijinx are already a heady 50/50 cocktail of fun and adrenalin, they’re only half the story. Or a third. Or even a fifth. Seriously, stick with us.

 

Look at that screenshot. You’ll notice riders zipping along at multiple layers of depth within the screen. No mere aesthetic trick, that’s actually a fundamental part of the gameplay, and like everything else in Joe, it’s executed in an unexpected, inventive, and raucously giggle-inducing fashion.

As difficulty levels increase, tracks start to be made up of multiple lanes (we’ve seen a maximum of five so far), each dripping with their own dangers and delights. Razor-sharp switching between lanes is the key to success or failure, but this can only be done at certain designated lane change gates, or via particular lane traversing obstacles like the loop-the-loop in the screenshot up top.

Thus the Guitar Hero comparison comes in, as you’ll have to constantly flash your eyes back and forth, feverishly making split-second lane decisions based on risks and rewards, collectibles and giant mouse traps, safety and podium placings. And all the while dealing with everything we’ve already mentioned above. Dragonforce on Expert with nitrous boosts. That’s what we’re talking about here.


It's LittleBigPlanet with petrol

And for all of the devlishly-designed, seat-of-the-pants, cackle-happy speed-joy at play, Joe Danger is also a very clever overall package. Seeing us add LittleBigPlanet to a list of comparisons already taking in Sonic, Mario and Guitar Hero, you might be forgiven for thinking that we’ve been on the cider again, but with its smooth integration of gameplay and customisation, Joe Danger absolutely warrants the reference.

Far from just an isolated option on a menu, Joe Danger’s editing tools are completely integrated into the main game. On some levels, for example, you could stumble upon a coin collecting challenge that just doesn’t seem possible. And it won’t be. Because instead of improved riding skills, you'll need an improved track layout. So you'll pause the game, crack out the editor and start modifying the environment. In real time. As you ride it.

Other times you might be charged with finding a way to make a monsterously long jump. But do you built one massive ramp and hope you can build enough speed on the way up?  Do you try a ski jump affair? Or how about a fun but risky series of spring platforms? In Joe Danger, the fun isn’t just in completing stunt challenges, it’s in messing around with the very fabric of the challenges in order to make both them and their solutions entirely your own.

And of course you can use the sandbox tools to build your own levels from scratch (indeed, they’re so versatile and easy to master the team at Hello used them to create and test a lot of the game itself), and that creates a whole new sub-game of online one-upmanship.

Say your friend makes a level and sends it over to you. You play it. You enjoy it. But how about if you then fire up the editing tools and make it a bit harder, before sending it back? Then how about if he mocks your attempts to affront his design skills by doing the very same? And then you do the same again. Eventually, by simple nature of gamer pride, you’ll have enjoyed several hours of what can only be described as game design chess, and created a finely-honed uber-level between the two of you. It’s playful, it’s creative, it’s original, and it’s densely packed with fiendish hardcore appeal.

But then, from what we’ve played of it so far, that’s Joe Danger all over.

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14 comments

  • Joshin69 - June 21, 2010 10:53 a.m.

    Now released on PSN (only at the moment) it is as good iif not better than this preview makes out. Easy to start but oh it gets pretty fiendish later in the game. Well worth the £10 spent although why no review GR?
  • revelator - February 16, 2010 7:03 p.m.

    Any update on when this is coming out for PS3?
  • mccore24 - January 27, 2010 9 p.m.

    Wow....i know its already been said but this is excite bike on steroids...i think i prefer Hello Games original releases such as geometry wars...i say stick to what you know unless its ripping off someone else which is exactly what Joe Danger does
  • Tomsta666 - November 19, 2009 10:59 a.m.

    DAAAAANGEER!! This seems like something I would enjoy.
  • IHateMakingUserIDs - November 17, 2009 5:24 p.m.

    Don't get me wrong, i'm sure this will be a fun game. but it is Excitebike modernized with points and achievements. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
  • Mirako - November 17, 2009 5:08 a.m.

    Looks promising but, I don't see how you can compare it to Guitar Hero really... Also the idea of going here's a Broken Track that you can't complete, finish it sounds, lazy. And if I can edit my tracks how about just make a huuuuge ramp to the finish eh?
  • wrapdump - November 17, 2009 2:59 a.m.

    When I first saw the main character, I honestly thought it was a pixar-ed version of Chris Antista
  • aion7 - November 17, 2009 2:27 a.m.

    @JackSkellingtonsSkin Bioshock is not original. It essentially is System Shock 2 minus the excellent storytelling, atmosphere and depth in gameplay, and plus better graphics and Ayn Rand quote unquote "philosophy".
  • batman5273 - November 16, 2009 10:22 p.m.

    Wow, I'd love to play it! can't wait.
  • JackSkellingtonsSkin - November 16, 2009 7:40 p.m.

    @IHateMakingUserIDs Just because it has some similarities to excite bikes doesn't mean it's not original. I think bioshock was pretty original and that was very similar to system shock.
  • IHateMakingUserIDs - November 16, 2009 6:46 p.m.

    Cyberninja is right. The instant i saw the video i was thinking "Oh it's a new generation version of Excitebike. Excitebike had lane changes, tight time limits, create a track and it was done way back in the lovely 80's if i recall. Nice to see a new version of it comming out, Hope people don't start touting it as 'new' or 'original'.
  • IIIIIACEIIIII - November 16, 2009 6:43 p.m.

    This is looking good, I'll make sure to download it.
  • FreekinIdiot - November 16, 2009 2:40 p.m.

    I LOVE IT!! especially the 80's style 'Danger!' rock call! Makes me want to rewatch HotRod all over again...ewww HotRod actually sounds like it should be a film about something much more frightening
  • Cyberninja - November 16, 2009 12:11 p.m.

    to me it looks like exicte bike on crack

Showing 1-14 of 14 comments

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