SNES Mascot platformers were a mainstay of my grade school gaming time. Playing Jet Kave Adventure instantly reminded me of renting an unfamiliar third party platformer for the weekend, and that feeling never really left me as I played through it. The amount of moves the main character has is strictly modern, and the amount of things to collect is comparable to some of the better platformers I’ve played. However, the generic look and feel of Jet Kave Adventure reminded me more of the curiosities I was briefly fascinated with than the well-known classics.
Jet Kave Adventure is a 2.5D platformer where you play as Kave, a caveman who finds a jet pack after aliens land on his island. The combination of high and low tech abilities actually serves as a pretty decent gameplay gimmick. You traverse levels, filled with convenient checkpoints, flying around and smashing into things with the power of your jetpack while pounding enemies with a club and slingshot. Kave has a lot of different moves, but the controls are intuitive enough that it never becomes confusing. It all works pretty well.
The levels in this game aren’t very difficult to get through. They’re not very exciting on a first play, either, but thanks to the ample checkpoints, the game’s challenges always feel doable, not daunting. Fully completing the game, however, is more challenging and interesting. Each level is filled with collectibles, which you can spend to upgrade your weapons, life, and jetpack, giving you a better shot at getting more of the collectibles. It’s unnecessary, and can get slightly tedious, but for the most part, it’s fun, giving the game a few extra hours of creative challenges for dedicated players. Scouring for collectibles is also much more pleasant than the game’s frustrating boss battles. The bosses’ attack patterns aren’t always clear, and their difficulty is much higher than the rest of the game, making them an unpleasant interruption to a relaxing quest. There are some minigame levels, too, but they’re not particularly good or bad.
Jet Kave Adventure does its best to have a lot of personality, but it’s not always evident from the visuals. The 3D graphics are fine, but the character and enemy designs aren’t too memorable. The island environments are likewise well rendered, but don’t always take full advantage of the goofiness of the caveman fighting aliens premise of the game. They’re pretty, but don’t really stand out. The music is likewise fine, but sounds suspiciously like it came from a Donkey Kong Country game. It fits the mood and visuals of the game well, though, and aside from the occasional jarring loop, it’s pretty pleasant.
Jet Kave Adventure is fine. It plays pretty well, with some interesting level designs and challenges for completionists, and the jet pack gimmick is fun. For the most part, I enjoyed flying around and smashing things, and getting item upgrades was noticeable enough to be satisfying. The frustrating boss battles and generic look and sound of this game bring it down, though, as does its relatively short length. If you’re looking for a light and pleasant platformer, however, this wouldn’t be a bad choice.
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