A sequel worthy of Hollywood
It’s ironically fitting that Hello Games’s Joe Danger 2: The Movie is such a Hollywood-esque sequel. It trades in the charm and focus of the first game for bombast and epicness. Sure, it’s more robust and varied, but there was something endearing about the original’s simplicity that seems to be gone.
Joe Danger 2 is a side-scrolling game in the vein of Trials and Excitebike. You play as a stuntman for an upcoming Hollywood action movie. This brings with it a wide variety of mission objectives. In addition to collecting stars, maintaining combos and finding hidden pickups, you’ll also come across new tasks such as pursuing foes, outrunning avalanches, disabling warheads and evading helicopter missiles.
This makes for a surprisingly different tone when compared to the first game. The sequel is less about precision platforming and more about racing against the clock. This is still perfectly enjoyable and is in some ways a welcome change of pace. However, it’s not quite as memorable as the deceptively hard tests of patience and precision found in the first game.
Joe Danger 2 features a much larger assortment of vehicles this time around. Instead of only defying death on his motorcycle, Joe will now ride snowmobiles, minecarts, quadbikes, skis, unicycles and even jetpacks. You’ll switch between vehicles nearly every level, sometimes even within a single level. While they’re all fun to use, you’re never given the same ample time to master any of them that you were given in the first game.
Thankfully, Joe Danger 2 retains a vibrant cartoony style. It’s a pleasure to look at, thanks to a bright color palette and varied environments. Stage backdrops range from a busy urban street to a snow covered mountain side.
However, the director of Joe’s movie is flat out insufferable. He’ll constantly yell at you when you need to duck or jump to avoid obstacles. Every time you restart a level, he’ll scream “Action!” with increasing fanaticism. At the end of each act, you’re forced to sit through an unskippable clipshow of the levels you just completed while the director shrieks like he’s having a fervent mental breakdown. As a result, I played a large portion of the game with the sound turned off.
As a sequel, Joe Danger 2: The Movie is a game of trade-offs. It adds more objectives, more environments, and more vehicles, but lacks the same novelty and focus. It still manages to occasionally hit the same magical beats that its predecessor hit, but it often feels scatterbrained. Hello Games had a lofty standard to live up to, and what it delivers is still fun, but it’s not quite as special.
Tested on 360