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July 2022

Jet Kave Adventure

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: Platformer
Developer: 7Levels
Release Date: Jan. 15, 2021


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PC Review - 'Jet Kave Adventure'

by Cody Medellin on Oct. 19, 2021 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

Warm up your engines before flying to this prehistoric land, and prepare for some exciting jet-fueled platforming.

It's one thing to give a game a gimmick. Having something that stands out as novel or distinct is one method to bring your game some attention, especially if you're entering a crowded genre. It's another thing to have that gimmick work. No matter how cool the hook may be in concept, no one will care if it isn't fun. Jet Kave Adventure stands with feet planted in both territories: a game with a neat gimmick that only seems OK to play.

The premise is not bad. You play the role of Kave, a chieftain who has been banished by his tribe for failing to hunt any food in their time of need. While wandering the island, Kave stumbles upon an alien ship that has crashed nearby and learns that the visiting alien plans to go to the volcano to retrieve the crystal needed to repair his craft. Unfortunately, the removal of that crystal would blow up the island. Kave now has a mission to stop that from occurring, and his job is made a touch easier when he grabs a jetpack from the nearby wreckage.

The early sections of Jet Kave Adventure execute the basics well. Kave can perform a basic jump and a wall-jump if the walls are close to one another. He can also do a ducking run through narrow passageways that matches his normal walking speed. He can collect shells that are used between levels to buy upgrades, and he can collect food that can be used to regain health. He also has a bone club that is powerful enough to take down an enemy with only one hit, with the exception of minibosses and regular bosses. He also has a sling that can hit things from afar, but it has limited ammo.

Once Kave gets the jetpack, he adds a few new moves to his arsenal. His basic jump can be accompanied by a hover that lasts while there's fuel in the gauge, which is replenished once you hit solid ground or grab onto a ledge. Kave also gains a jet-powered dash that lets you go further or jump higher in any direction, but it's also used for a multitude of other things. Defensively, this means being able to dodge laser beams or a few other attacks. While it does nothing offensively, the dash can break down weak floors and walls to progress or uncover secret shell stashes and golden statues. The dash can also be used to activate switches to open large stone barriers.

For the most part, the platforming is done well enough. Jumps don't feel difficult to execute, and enemies don't tend to appear in places that surprise the player. The secrets are numerous, and you'll find that the game tries to mix things up throughout the campaign's 36 stages. Some stages have sections that are auto-runners, where your jetpack has an infinite amount of boost and you try to avoid obstacles. Others have you running away from a rampaging animal or spacecraft, and a few let you pilot a glider, but that can be tricky to do since the illustrations of the instructions aren't very clear.

There are two things that drag down the game to below average. The first is the amount of creativity shown throughout Jet Kave Adventure. The first half has a number of nifty scenarios that show off the platforming and the myriad of jetpack uses. Thanks to the boss fights being fairly repetitive and unexciting, it falls on the levels to be more exciting. However, by the time you reach the back half of the game, just about every idea is replicated several times over, with the only changes being the backdrop. Even with the game's relatively short runtime, the lack of change makes that portion feel like a drag.

The second thing that can turn off people is the relative lack of difficulty. Food is abundant, so you'll never die due to having no backup food available to replenish your health. Health is also replenished whenever you hit a checkpoint, so you might find yourself with a stockpile of food and no reason to use it by the stage's end. Lives are infinite, and the checkpoints are numerous, so you aren't backtracking much if you fall to your doom. Enemies prove to be more of an annoyance than a real obstacle, since they can all die with one hit. Once you gain at least half of the upgrades, the game becomes a breeze. The only challenge is in the wall-jumping, which can be dodgy when you try to use the jetpack to reach the wall that you just jumped from, and even with upgrades, the boost runs out very quickly.

The title does try to compensate for the lack of difficulty by offering four different challenges per stage. Aside from finding the stage's golden statue, you can try to capture a certain number of shells per level. You can also try to finish a stage in under par time, and you can try to beat the stage without taking a hit. None of these give you any rewards or bonuses, so these are for personal satisfaction. You get access to Arcade mode, which dials a few things back, such as giving you a limited number of lives and no health for hitting checkpoints. For those looking for something more old-school, this is it.

Considering that the game debuted on the Nintendo Switch, the presentation got quite an upgrade on the way to the PC. Running at a solid 60fps with no slowdown, the backgrounds sport a ton of detail, and there are moments that look downright gorgeous, such as when you have a waterfall as a backdrop. The character designs are good, no doubt helped by the fact that a number of them are sizable, and the animations are fine if you can get used to everyone running around with big strides. The music is good but not exactly memorable, while the effects do their job well in covering for the lack of voices, all of which are only present with non-descript grunts for every situation.

In the end, Jet Kave Adventures is fine. It looks nice and does the basics well enough that you won't get frustrated by mistimed jumps or falling off ledges. The gameplay fails to bring about any excitement in the back half, while the many mechanics designed to make this easier make it perfect for kids but not anyone who is considered fluent in the genre. It isn't a terrible game by any means, but you can tackle a few other, better platformers before trying this one.

Score: 6.5/10

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