Joe Danger, a track-based stunt racer for the PlayStation Network, was a surprise classic for that system (and Xbox Live Arcade as Joe Danger: Special Edition, with iOS and Android ports in progress), running a surprisingly detailed 2-D motorcycle simulation that captured many of the best elements of classics like Excitebike. Hello Games is not content to leave well enough alone and is hoping to match itself with the sequel, Joe Danger 2: The Movie, which we checked out at Microsoft's "Best of E3 2012" event.
In Joe Danger 2: The Movie, Joe has been discovered by a mysterious director who hires him as an action movie star. This means that Joe will face a variety of environments in a variety of vehicles, constantly changing up the play over the game's 100 levels, 20 vehicles, and distinct mechanics and settings that pay homage to several classic action films.
The core controls remain more or less familiar; the right trigger accelerates, the A button triggers a Burnout-style boost (even where there's no logical boost source, such as when you're on skis), the X button lets you jump and duck, left and right let you tilt, and the bumpers allow you to perform some stunts. The goal is to maximize your score by minimizing your time through the course while performing as many stunts as possible. Naturally, the game uses a library of tricks and gimmicks to make this increasingly challenging over time, and the levels offer plenty of opportunities to discover tricks and shortcuts.
The levels represent film scenes, including classic archetypes such as mine cart rides, skiing away from an avalanche, and riding a jetpack. Each changes the gameplay significantly while keeping the same core. Some offer more patient play than others, and all shift their physics and interactions with gimmicks in various ways.
The ranking system uses the online leaderboard — a simulation system if you're offline — to rank you among the players. Further, it shows you the local, online friends, and global leaderboards at the end of each levels. There's a certain bit of fame to being the best on a specific level, if you can make it to that point. (The game helpfully provides ghost data for your best run and the global best run.) It is a developer goal that even the earliest levels of the game can be challenging to master.
Joe Danger 2: The Movie appears to be an interesting, worthy sequel. We are looking forward to its release in the near future.
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