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I’d rather jump out a window

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    JumpJet Rex

    Rating: 1.5 – Bad

    I’d rather jump out a window

    JumpJet Rex is one of the many games currently available through Xbox Game Pass. And it’s one of the few that offer local co-op gameplay, so I thought I would give it a shot. Even if you’re a Game Pass subscriber, though, I can’t recommend JumpJet Rex. It just isn’t worth your time.

    JumpJet Rex is a 2D platformer where players play as generic dinosaurs with rocket boots. The goal of each level is to go through a set number of rings and reach the end. The concept is simple enough, though the platforming is frustrating beyond measure. And since JumpJet Rex is a 2D platformer, it having very poor platforming is, as one might imagine, a pretty big problem that makes it one of the worst experiences I’ve had on Xbox One.

    The game seems designed to deliberately frustrate players. Many deaths occur from things coming off-screen or popping up without players having any way of knowing that they’re coming. This trial-and-error kind of gameplay is a lazy way to make the game seem challenging, when really it just makes it annoying to play. Combine this with a camera that can make you nauseous when playing in co-op and things start getting crazy, and JumpJet Rex is a headache-inducing, tedious experience from beginning to end.

    Beyond the core platforming, there is also an attempt at combat thrown in that is just plain awful. To attack enemies in JumpJet Rex, players have to do these flipping attacks that are inconsistent and difficult to land. Oftentimes failing to land one of these attacks properly will result in a death that just feels cheap, as the combat is finicky at best.

    Even if it controlled fine and wasn’t frustrating to play, everything about JumpJet Rex screams generic. The levels almost feel like they were put together in BattleBlock Theater’s level editor, as opposed to put together based on original art and ideas. The "characters," the T-Rex(es) that players control, feel like completely unoriginal animal mascots that belong in an early 90s platformer. One of the main rewards players can get from the game is customization items that can be used to make these dinosaurs look different, but this is hardly rewarding and does little to give them any actual personality.

    Besides the generic platforming levels, players also have some boss fights to play through. The boss fights are not hard by any stretch of the imagination, but some of them can be very time-consuming and, like the platforming levels, just downright frustrating. Also like the rest of the game, the boss fights seem deliberately designed to frustrate players. The evidence for this is that each boss has some trick to it that makes it pathetically easy, essentially allowing players to circumvent any of the challenge from dodging the boss’s moves or attacking them strategically. Since each boss has a built-in way to bypass the actual fight, it’s clear that’s what players are really meant to do instead of engage in the entire encounter.

    As players force their way through JumpJet Rex, they will often come upon roadblocks that prevent them from progressing, as levels are gated off based on star requirements. Each level has three stars players can earn – one for completing the level, one for completing the level without dying, and one for completing the level under a certain time limit. This forces players to go back and play through levels that may have already been boring and frustrating previously, just so that they can keep pushing their way to the end of the game.

    While JumpJet Rex is a hugely frustrating experience from start to finish, the co-op support does alleviate that frustration a bit. Having a co-op partner means that players have extra chances to get through the game’s various hazards and enemies, though the downside to it is the respawn time. Co-op partners take five seconds to come back into the game, and until then, they are useless – completely unable to utilize any of their jetpack abilities to traverse the levels. All this does is slow the game down, and players will often find themselves just standing around waiting for fallen allies to spawn back in. And it’s not like this restriction makes the game anymore challenging, though. Players can actually abuse it to skip the trickier traps and hazards they come across in the game.

    The gameplay in JumpJet Rex is a disaster, but what about the rest of the experience? Unfortunately, JumpJet Rex’s presentation doesn’t do it any favors either. The retro style graphics are cliche at this point as well, which just helps to complete the game’s image as generic and unimaginative. The sound effects and music can be downright annoying at times, and do absolutely nothing to make it any better of a game.

    JumpJet Rex is also suffering when it comes to replayability. Beating the game is very easy, and after that, all players have to do is go back and try to get all the stars on each level. This is a miserable endeavor and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

    JumpJet Rex does have one thing going for it, and that is its clever ending. I really doubt anyone will see the ending coming, and while it is accompanied by one of the most maddeningly designed levels in gaming history, it is still interesting. However, getting to that ending will require players to suffer through one of the absolute worst games currently available through the Xbox Game Pass. Game Pass subscribers should try to spend their time with other games instead.

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