Excitebike and Tony Hawk had a baby – Joe Danger
After a long hiatus that saw him step out of the limelight, Joe Danger is back. And he’s ready to put his life on the line once more to pull off some ridiculous stunts in order to win the public’s hearts again.
In case you have been twiddling your thumbs for the past 4 years, Joe Danger, our titular hero, is a has-been stuntman. To get back into the public eye he has formulated a plan: do some crazy-ass stunts and look cool while doing them. The game follows Joe on his rise to fame through a series of motorcycle events. Each event has multiple levels with a variety of tasks ranging from racking up highscores. straightforward races, and finding collectibles.
You can think of Joe Danger as a crossover between Excitebike and Tony Hawk Pro Skater. Joe travels from the left side of the screen to the finish line at the other side. Just like Tony Hawk’s there are lots of collectibles, such as letters that make up the word ‘Danger’, stars and coins. Stages range from basic runs from left to right with a few ramps thrown in. to sprawling levels filled with moving obstacles, structures and loop-the-loops. There’s a huge variation on offer, with enough obstacles and spikes thrown in to keep you on your toes. Completing events grants Joe stars with which he can unlock more events, and further his career. As if that wasn’t enough there are also bronze, silver and gold trophies to unlock. Collecting all of these will take a lot of time, skill and patience!
If there’s one criticism that can be made of old Joe (and there is only one), it’s that the controls feel a little bit too loose at times, and a little too stiff at others. Pulling off that perfect 1080 flip can sometimes be hindered by an oversensitive left thumbstick, meaning Joe ends up scraping his teeth along the tarmac. Pulling off a perfectly timed stop before a rotating obstacle can likewise be impeded by unresponsive buttons. These criticisms are quite minor though, and we did get used to them eventually.
Our man Joe is no slouch in the visual department, that’s for sure. All of the brightly coloured and cheeky visuals have made it over from the console version, with very little noticable degradation – barring some incredible jaggy shadows on the menu screen! Levels are nicely rendered and attractive to look at on the Vita’s screen, with enough variation between them to keep you interested. We only wish the setting changed up a little. Musically, the game is a little underwhelming. The same crowd noises, announcer shouting “Joe Danger” over the intercom, and cheesey music loop run throughout each level. Just a shame that the audio quality and variety couldn’t match that of the visuals.
The minor drawbacks mentioned above shouldn’t put you off buying Joe Danger for the PS Vita, though. The sheer breadth of content alone makes it any bus stop gamer’s wet-dream, with enough bite-sized content to keep you going on a ride from John O’groats to Lands End. Pack in some quirky visuals, fun objectives and an attractive price tag and you’d be loopy not to join Joe on his ride to fame.