Joe Danger originally released on the PlayStation Network back in 2010. The game combined the motorbike and level editor of a game like Excitebike with the platforming challenges that are featured in the Mario series. This joining of two very different genres makes for not only one of the best motorcycle games, but one of the best downloadable games on the market.
You play as Joe Danger, a motorcycle stuntman who fell out of the limelight years ago due to an injury from a stunt that went horribly wrong. Joe is looking to revitalize his career, but unlike riding a bicycle, Joe will have to start slow and work his way up with the help of the player. Once you learn about all the possible stunts, pulling them off is quite easy due to the responsive controls. You know how some games, like Call of Duty or Mario just feel right when you have a controller in your hands? Joe Danger works in the same way. Despite only using 2 buttons to pull off tricks, there is a lot of freedom as to how you string moves together, and the ability to boost adds for a lot of depth, especially when you are trying to stay in the air for longer or clear a wide gap.
The career is split up into multiple stages, where Joe can tackle many objectives that will reward you with a star when completed. As you complete more objectives and rack up more stars, you will be able to spend stars to unlock levels. Joe Danger’s levels provide a great amount of freedom, which helps add to its pick-up-and-play feel. The objectives have a wide variety, from picking up letters to spell out the word “DANGER”, landing on specially marked targets, picking up normal and secret objects, and finishing under an allotted time. If you don’t like a specific objective, you won’t have to deal with it right away, and you can revisit it at any time.
Outside of the career, Joe Danger features an in-depth sandbox, where you can build levels to your heart’s content. Considering it has all the tools the developers had (similar to Little Big Planet), the sandbox mode can be used to make levels on par with the ones that Hello Games lovingly crafted. You can actually drive around within the level editor, which allows you to test your creations as you build them. The game also features local splitscreen, where you and a friend can race against each other in style. Unfortunately, there is no online play, nor the option to download replays of certain levels. Considering some levels had me stumped for a while, it would have made for a great feature. In terms of presentation, Joe Danger goes for a cartoon feel, with bright colors and a lighthearted soundtrack. For a game that was developed by 4 people, the production values are amazing, and other than a little slowdown during some races, the graphics and sound come up all aces.
What’s new in Joe Danger: Special Edition?
Joe Danger: Special Edition features a whole new Lab Mode, which amounts to what is essentially a enormous level pack featuring new challenges and art assets. The new levels offer more insane challenges than the ones seen in the regular career and are a great addition to the Special Edition, which is exclusive to Xbox Live Arcade. Simply put, Joe Danger delights on all fronts. It perfectly combines the gameplay from two classic series and makes it simple yet deep enough for all to enjoy.
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