When his nemesis Kaiser Taikai returns to settle an old score, planetary inspector Jett Rocket finds himself and his friends suddenly captured and fighting for survival on the home planet of the Power Plant Posse. Continuing the successes achieved with the game’s WiiWare predecessor, Jett Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai looks toward achieving dizzy heights but not even a jetpack can save this Nintendo eShop release from sadly being largely forgettable.
In spite of the game’s graphical flair, Jett Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai ultimately finds itself regularly fumbling toward mediocrity at every turn. Shin’en Multimedia’s boasts of seeing their creation run at 60 frames per second on the 3DS, whilst a commendable technical achievement, amount to little when the levels themselves feel so lifeless.
Whether traversing the mechanical climbs of Taikai Atoll, the cog-filled tropics of the Toxic Swamp or the murky depths of the Deepsea Base, each of world’s stages fails to differentiate themselves from one another in any notable way.
Robotic enemies wander their corridors, conveyor belts and moving platforms continually test your orientation, whilst solar panels, souvenir photos and extra lives lay hidden off the beaten path, behind destructible partitions and pipework. Collecting all photos rewards you with the Bonus Attack mode, a high score-driven experience that sees you collecting as many solar cells before you either lose a life or the timer runs out.
Exploration is a key theme, then, made all the more joyful by the limited-use JettPack, certain stages switching between 2D and 3D visual perspectives to keep you on your toes and the experience as fresh as it can be. Although Jett’s pacing can often throw you off, whilst the camera control leaves much to be desired.
Special stages see you roaring across the open ocean on a jet ski, or falling through the clouds dodging incoming missiles in skydiving sections, making formidable use of the handheld’s stereoscopic 3D, but again don’t amount to much when such occurrences pass you by in mere minutes.
Although as a whole, this just feels far too segregated for its own good. These uninspired stages find themselves interjected by diversionary minigames that seem more of a desperate attempt to inject the enjoyment that fails to emerge throughout the main game.
Going by Shin’en Multimedia’s past efforts, Jett Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai felt so short of the standards set by the German studio. Which is a shame when there’s clearly plenty of unrealised potential here.