04/10/2021

๐ŸŒ• Jettomero: Hero of the Universe | Nintendo Switch | Review | 6.5/10 | "I’m stompin’ around, move out of my way" ๐ŸŒ• @GhostTimeGames #IndieGames #GameDev

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Having so recently been completely enamoured with the GOTY contender Tux and Fanny, I delved into Jettomero, the previous title from Ghost Time Games. Whilst it didn’t grab me in the same way that Tux and Fanny did, there are some real highs here but they are unfortunately offset by some points that ultimately heavily detract from the experience.

A short experience at around a couple of hours, a lot of the fun and emotional involvement come from the unveiling of the narrative, which I won’t spoil here, suffice to say that the game begins with the titular character waking up on a planet, unsure of his purpose or even the mechanics of his creation and heads off through the procedurally generated universe to find out more.

The gameplay takes the form of playing through Jettomero’s journey. The planets that are landed on are walked over, almost in a marble-like way in that Jettomero’s enormous size (dwarfing skyscrapers) mean that he simply wanders over everything, collecting either fuel to jettison off to the next planet, stomping the ground for unlockables that affect Jettomero on a purely cosmetic basis – resulting in changes that range from Bart Simpson-esque heads to clawed talons and massive boots, there are a LOAD of different looks for the completionist in you to collect. 

As you boost from planet to planet (travelling through ring-races, should you desire), you’ll eventually come across giant monsters to fight in a rhythm-based battle (the difficulty of which can be adjusted) and upon winning, you’ll short out Jettomero’s circuits which results in him unlocking a memory that advances the story. 

The mini-game aspect is one of the best parts of the game for me, I really enjoyed the mechanic of rolling letters by process of elimination until the sentences made sense, it’s so simple and effective. Upon completing these puzzles, the next cutscene plays out in graphic novel fashion, resulting in Jettomero travelling through a wormhole to the next galaxy, to repeat the process.

The reason I’ve held off describing the visual and audio presentation of the game thus far is that they are clear highlights (beyond those awesome word puzzles, natch). The presentation is FANTASTIC. There are myriad visual filters to choose from – I always get lost in these and so rely on the default – and, if you are someone that likes to take stylised pictures, you’ll be in heaven here. I adored the comic-book approach and the music is really evocative - spacey, dreamy trip-hop is the order of the day and I can very much see why Stumpy Frog Records are releasing a limited edition vinyl soundtrack (https://www.stumpyfrog.com).

With the presentation being amazing and the wonderfully pure existential premise in place – why does this robot exist? Why is he so apologetic as he clumsily tramples entire cities? Why is he immortal? Why does he have no memory? These are the questions that sucked me in. 

I was so, so prepared for deep dives into understanding the rights and wrongs of a childlike mind, but whilst the game neatly explains the situation and outcome, the ending is so abrupt and devoid of any of the emotional involvement that I had built up in my mind through the truly great premise – that it felt like a huge deflation. 

By the halfway point, the fundamental gameplay (again, I highlight those awesome word puzzles) had run its course for me and I was coasting by on the ever-beautiful visuals and audio with the ultimate endgame denouement in my mind. I

n a game that relies as much on premise and atmosphere as Jettomero does, when the narrative delivery just isn’t there...it’s a tough pill to swallow.

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