Jettomero on the Nintendo Switch, developed by Ghost Time Games, was previously released on Steam to a mixed bag of reviews. Fast forward a year, and with the same universe to save, does Jettomero stand tall amongst the wealth of indie titles on the Nintendo Switch or is there too little place for this planet-hopping robot?
The premise of the game is an all too familiar, the atypical ‘save the world from evil’ affair, all under the guise of an oversized robot that every citizen from various planets within the universe are scared of. Taking control of the indestructible, inconsistent and largely indescribable robot protagonist, you are tasked with traversing the planets within this universe to rid them of evil.
The game is presented in a comic book style, complete with stylised font and quirky art designs. The game begins with Jettomero questioning his existence and being unsure of himself – something I am sure many of us can relate to from time to time! After providing the opportunity to move around, the game offers a quick tutorial through on-screen prompts i.e. move camera with the right stick, move character with the left, zoom in with the right button and zoom out with the right. Apart from the liftoff function, which is completed by holding ZR, there is little else you need to know to become acquainted with our giant, friendly red robot.
Starting on the first planet, Jettomero must move carefully around in order to avoid the civilisations living there. In between the buildings, armies, spaceships, and rockets (we will touch on this later!). Jettomero must collect small yellow orbs which act as rocket fuel to leave the planet and fly to another but one must ensure he has enough fuel to achieve this. All in all, traversing the universe was a fantastic experience where the comic-style graphics really came to life.
After finding very little to support in my quest to save the universe on the first planet I explored, I traveled to the next. No sooner had I arrived, I was presented with a large, hostile figure. One of the many ‘Super Tips’ appeared on screen which informed me that my beloved robot, Jettomero, is equipped with eye lasers to defeat foes who stand in the way of becoming ‘Hero of the Universe.’
Engaging in combat with said hostile, you are presented with a combination of keys which you have to press in order of appearance as quickly as possible. Once the sequence has been completed, you are then shown one button which you must mash as quickly as possible to overpower the enemies’ laser and destroy the foe. It is a simple mode of combat and one that didn’t offer very much in terms of exciting gameplay mechanics. Upon completion, Jettomero declares that maybe this is what he was destined to do – rid the planets of enemies to save the inhabitants. You learn quickly young Jettomero!
Having used the laser eyes, naturally, Jettomero’s system becomes overloaded and strange data logs appear which require deciphering. Using a cipher, completed by turning a series of knobs to line up the letters to produce a message, you will then advance the story and unlock the next chapter. This message was then translated to a comic book cut out, which looked truly fantastic!
To say the planets became much more hostile as I moved from one to the next was an understatement. As I meandered my way through one, in particular, my chorus of ‘I mean no harm’ fell on deaf ears as the inhabitants, understandably wary of a bright red robot traipsing through their town, attacked with missiles, spaceships, and even chains to tie me down. With nine chapters to explore, each galaxy had anything from two to six planets to explore. There is a lot of content that the title offers. Notably, each planet, although small in size, had its own unique atmosphere.
The comic book art style was an excellent design decision and provided a fantastic backdrop to the game. I appreciated the effort that had gone in to developing this artistic style and felt it added something to the story that was being portrayed.
Traveling through the universe, planets, and wormholes was joyous, with colours flying from every direction. I wish the developers had been able to offer more here to give a reason to do this more often, as it was something I could see myself spending time doing if I was given a purpose.
My first qualm was that outside of finding the enemy to defeat – which appeared on one of the planets found in that chapter – there was little else to do. You could collect new parts for Jettomero by destroying beacons scattered around the planet, but these parts served no purpose other than to change the appearance of your character. As such, the time spent playing the game could be used to just planet hop until you found the one inhabiting the boss and defeat him, then move on to another galaxy.
My second issue, which is more of a technical problem, was that during the puzzle time – message decoding using the cipher – the analog stick was too sensitive and meant that placing the cipher in the right place became frustratingly difficult. As a rather simple game mechanic in itself, it should not have been that difficult to achieve.
In what has become quite an important consideration for me in recent months, my final thought on what could be improved is the sound. Advertised as an ‘original, mesmerizing, down-tempo sci-fi soundtrack’, Jettomero does have some excellent audio included. What I found, however, is that it wasn’t befitting of the experience. When I arrived at a planet and the soundtrack changed, it felt like the two didn’t marry up. This may have been a design decision which I have misunderstood, but I felt the audio could have been used to better effect.
In summary, Jettomero had the potential to be something great. It had all the makings of an excellent indie game, however, I felt it fell too short on too many occasions. I was willing the game to offer me more in my five or so hours playing, hoping it had something else up its’ sleeve to warrant my playtime. Unfortunately, this wasn’t to be. For all its graphical ingenuity, the game was void of anything ground-breaking to keep me engaged.
Reviewed by Shaun Hughes on the Nintendo Switch, provided by Ghost Time Games.