Jetboard Joust is a sandwich with all the right fillings. Well actually its a scroll shooter, that resembles an 80s arcade game. Developed by BitBull, and published by Freedom! Games.Jetboard Joust is a fun and exciting little game, and I’m going to tell you why.
Armed with your trusty jet board and an arsenal of weapons, It’s your job to stop a variety of different enemies from abducting “little guys”. Failing to save a “little guy” from abduction will result in the little guy mutating into a powerful enemy. Failure to save any will result in every humanoid enemy mutating. Your goal is straight forward, but, it can be challenging. Consequently, you will need to create a strategy depending on what weapons you pick up.
This is why Jetboard Joust shines, its simple gameplay loop. Mixed with difficulty and strategy makes for a fun and unique experience almost every time. You will proceed to a treasure chamber (an optional bonus objective in later missions). On activating the chamber, a guardian will spawn. On defeating this enemy you will be granted access to a random weapon, this weapon can heavily impact your playthrough.
There are a total of 30 guns in Jetboard Joust, that all offer unique projectiles and attributes. A Particle Storm a close-range weapon fires in a wall-like projectile. While a Gatling Gun offers longer range and a faster rate of fire. Every gun you unlock is random, meaning no run is the same. Along with the Crazy Ion Splitter and Sonic boom, your Jetboard acts as a weapon when jetboard boosts are used. This is a powerful attack that makes the player invulnerable for a short time, while you speed through multiple enemies.
Although the game encourages you to swap weapons often, some weapons are more powerful than others. For example, the Lightning Bolt carried me swiftly through many levels, as it is capable of striking multiple enemies at once. Making me less likely to use other weapons on that run. However, it is essential to have a different kind of projectiles when fighting a world boss. For example, my Lightning Bolt was less effective against Snappers, (second boss) due to its range. Also, playing higher levels issues in new enemies requiring different approaches.
An Army of Alien Invaders!
Along with a diverse set of weapons Jetboard Joust, has an assortment of enemy types that require a different strategy to kill enemies such as the Enforcer who have more health points than Buzzers. But Buzzers spawn in large groups and can overwhelm you, requiring you to use a crowd control weapon. Some enemies must be prioritised over others, for example, it is essential to kill bombers before they drop their bombs.
World bosses are just as crazy and unique as the weapons, I encountered two world bosses playing Jetboard Joust, Stinger and Snappers. Both requiring different approaches, due to their attacks and movement. Akin to Dark Souls, bosses have phases, once you deal enough damage they will change up their attacks and speed.
Stingers fire a charge of electricity through its stinger at the player. Once the player deals enough damage, Stingers spawns harassing wasps to attack the player. While Snappers moved faster and fired homing sticky bombs at the player. This creates interesting gameplay where the player must be prepared for a unique fight.
Jetboard Joust, A Ton Of Replay Ability
no playthrough is the same in Jetboard Joust, as you’ll be faced with many hard decisions along the way. On completing a level you are then given the opportunity to spend your coins on upgrades. Which can be anything from upgrading your suit shields and jetboard to your weapons. Deciding on what to upgrade will depend on the weapons you have discovered. The number of coins you have and what level bonuses are available to you.
Jetboard Joust’s level system resembles a quest reward system as the player has the option to choose a level with a reward that they need. This system compels the player to plan a route that best benefits their character.
If the player has a weak weapon they can plan a route towards a weapon unlock. Furthermore, there are unique suit upgrades that cannot be purchased with coins. Which must be gained through the level bonuses. However, the player must fight a treasure guardian, this could prove to be dangerous depending on weapons, level and suit upgrades. As the player completes level the route becomes more restricting.
Jetboard Joust offers a challenging, yet fun retro arcade experience. Its fast-paced gameplay will have players go against a diverse set of enemies. While making the player stop to plan weapon and utility upgrades, to fight interesting bosses.
Summary: Jetboard Joust blends the spirit and intensity of 1980s arcade coin-op SMHUPs with the replayability and tactical elements of hardcore modern roguelikes. Don’t. Do expect frantic, fluid, fast-paced 60fps action, big guns, and explosions!
Genres: Shooter, Action, Indie
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC (Review Version)
Developers: BitBull Ltd
Publishers: Freedom! Games, Freedom Family Limited