Jet Kave Adventure
Developed and Published By: 7Levels
Release Date: 09.17.2019
Jet Kave Adventure is a thematic mashup of so many ideas that it hurts my head just thinking through everything I have to get on paper here. You have cavemen, tropical islands, dinosaurs, and aliens all placed together at the base of a volcanic mountain destined for eruption. As a 2.5D action-platformer you must jump and smash your way through enemies and slide past tons of different obstacles all while chowing down and using, yes seriously, a jetpack. Is there honestly anything else you would want to do in a game? Sadly, this mega crossover lacks some serious fundamentals for the genre and runs out of fuel before you can reach the epic conclusion.
As the cinematic cutscenes begin we meet our illustrious hero, Kave. He is a former chief that has been banished and forced out on his own. As he is running around, he runs into an odd scene: an alien ship crash landed on the island he calls home. From the shadows he finds out the alien needs to erupt the volcano on the island in order to get his ship up and running again, but this would cause most of the inhabitants of the island certain doom. Once confronted by Kave the alien flies off and drops a peculiar item that Kave quickly investigates. It is a jetpack, and with this tool Kave will have a fighting chance against the alien menace. The story is completely nonsensical, but the cinematics have some quality to them despite having no dialogue. Story isn’t a strong suit for this one, but how can you really come up with an epic tale with all of these different themes smashed together for no apparent reason?
Overall, the game offers some really solid platforming, but my biggest complaint with it is how it once again smashes so many ideas together that it is hard to keep everything straight. That definitely seems to be the running theme for this title. You have basic jumps and swats with your bone club, but you also can throw rocks, double jump with your jetpack, wall jump, cliff climb, fly a glider, eat food, collect collectibles, and explore. Things are so scatter-brained that you really can’t manage everything the game lays out, and I found myself completely skipping certain aspects of the game’s mechanics in order to try to make things simpler. I will try my best to outline these systems, but man is it a handful.
Jumping and attacking feels really good. You can beat up on the enemy dinosaurs and plants that get in your way and jump over obstacles as you would want from a basic action-platformer. The addition of the jetpack doesn’t complicate things either as a double jump is pretty common in platforming and the jetpack feels very fluid and useful throughout. You can use it to power slide through walls and enemies, as well as to glide across pits, and to gain some serious height when trying to get move upwards. It reminded me a tad of the Up + B in Smash Bros. in how it operates and that isn’t something I was upset about.
From here we get a bit into the weeds, as everything above is a pretty solid set of skills for a platformer on its own. Wall jumping is something you can do on certain types of surfaces, but it doesn’t work very well, and these sections can often be conquered through simple jumps and jetpack usage anyways. You then have the cliff climbing, which has you jump from handhold to handhold. There isn’t a way around this part of the game, but it feels really out of place when running through everything else, but seems it was used to emphasize the 2.5D of the game as your character turns towards the environment for these sections. Throwing rocks is something I completely skipped as well until forced to use this mechanic. You can use these rocks to defeat enemies, which can be useful if jumping to a small platform that is inhabited by an enemy unit, but beyond that isn’t very pragmatic. That is until you have to use these rocks to open up flowers, because that’s how things work, in order to gain a little extra height to move up tall platforms. Oh, and I forgot to mention this isn’t something you can just spam as you must collect the rocks along the level and can run out of your ammunition. This makes accuracy a must. The final platforming mechanic in this title is the glider sections where you have to fly through obstacles while collecting the game’s currency and jet fuel so you can get to the end of the level safely. There is just way too much going on here, and the game really hurts itself when it had a really solid foundation to begin with. It feels like the pitch meeting had tons of ideas brought up and nobody wanted to cut them down.
The last systems used in this title are the food system and the upgrade system. Yes, I said the food system. As you defeat enemies or break random items scattered in the level you have food that drops and can be collected. Once a certain amount has been found you can stop and eat in order to refill one of your lost hearts. This never felt like something that was a bad idea, but just paired with everything else it is comical that that brings in another thing into this game. Upgrades can be bought with the collected shells from the levels and can increase things like your club’s attack reach or the number of hearts you have. Pretty simple upgrades, but just another system you can mess around with. I sounds like I am seriously downing on this title, which I am somewhat, but the game really does offer some great action-platforming. You just have to work through all of these systems before you can get to the positive underneath.
The worst part of the game are the boss fights. In Mario games, you have the characters body language that allows for you to decipher how to beat the enemy. You might even have some environmental cues to help along the way. However, this game just throws you into a pit with whatever bad guy and tells you to just trial and error your way through it. I was spamming dozens of attacks and trying different combos with all the different things you can do in this game, but found myself pretty upset to find out the majority of these fights just have you dodge an attack enough times that the enemy spins himself out and just needs a basic smack attack to move on. These definitely feel like they were tossed on at the end of development and definitely aren’t completely flushed out.
From there you have some rough level design and enemy placement, not because of anything wrong with the design as a basis, but just because they have to pack so much garbage into the level in order to allow you to use each mechanic they have chosen that you just have a flurry of stuff in front and around you at all times. The game’s design feels like it was originally going to be an endless runner, with the use of spam mechanics and quick time accuracy, but nonetheless isn’t offensive enough to hinder the good action-platformer under all the piled-on fluff.
Beyond that you have various collectibles you can find in each level, as well as a basic achievement system in which you have to try to beat each level without taking damage, in a certain amount of time, or while collecting a certain amount of the currency. These don’t add a ton to the game but allow for some replay ability to a game that is so busy that you will probably need multiple runs to see it all anyways.
Jet Kave Adventure is a super solid action-platformer that drowns itself in its own mechanics and systems. You just have so much that you need to keep track of while being influenced to move as quickly as possible that levels lose enjoyment. Some mechanics can be completely ignored in order to reduce some of the noise, but it sucks that you would have to do that in the first place when the initial mechanics feel so strong. If this game just let you jump, attack, use the jetpack, and eat food, then you would have a game, in my opinion, that could be a bright spot with its wacky story and well animated cutscenes. However, they felt the need to pile on a half a dozen other things that just make the game feel really wishy washy in what they were trying to achieve. Busy level design and rough alternates to the gameplay loop (glider and boss fights) are just cherries on top that make this cake feel like they forgot to add sugar to the recipe.
Buy Now – $19.99
*The Switch Effect was provided a review code for this game*