Prejudice is a horrible thing, isn’t it?
We have enough of it in today’s world, with religions, races and preferences all being on the chopping block of heated discussion and insult, but what of otherworldly beings? Aliens, planets and giant monsters might want a piece of Earth, but they also might want to make some sort of friendly discussion, or offer protection. Here’s Jettomero with a penchant for protection.
Jettomero comes to us from Ghost Time Games, a one-man band as far as I’m aware, who’s been on the circuits since 2013. Jettomero is his second project, with today’s topic being Kickstarted for a goal of 5000 CAD, and for one man with somewhat average experience in making creating this? It’s more than “just an achievement”. But enough of me brown-nosing this man, what is Jettomero about, you’re possibly asking?
You are Jettomero who, as the title implies, is an incredibly stupid robot with the same IQ as two packs of cashew nuts. But he is also indestructible, and doesn’t know his purpose in the universe he resides in, as amnesia has taken this mechanic wonder by the throat. So now, he’s travelling through wormholes and planets in order to find answers, all the while fighting other equally massive monsters that threaten the planets he travels to.
One look at this game and what it involves, and you’d think to yourself “Oh, okay, this is just cel-shaded Grow Up, but with a two-mile tall robot, instead of a two-metre one”. A bold claim, but Jettomero is able to elevate itself above such a title, and does so with somewhat endearing force. I think it’s safe to say that today’s title is one of the most surprising releases to come out this year.
General gameplay is as straight-forward as it can possibly be. You walk across these planets and attempt to find… stuff. There’s not much of a goal besides explore, but Jettomero somehow has less stuff to do in it than No Man’s Sky. You can’t explore these planets that you’re the same size of, and the galaxies you’ll reside in aren’t bustling with activity, save for comets rushing around sparsely.
And even though I merely brushed off the Grow Home//Grow Up comparisons earlier, it’s still obvious that Ghost Time Games saw that and based it as the blueprint. The symptoms are all there: a stupid red robot, a funny walking animation, and a largely symbolic story representing something much greater. However, despite the small thoughts that the Grow series left me with, Jettomero has its eyes set on a much bigger prize and succeeds.
Aside from destroying planets by err, *COUGH* accident *COUGH*, there are also “boss” fights. Every once in a while, you’ll come across a rock that’s also being terrorized by an equally massive beast, and you engage in a laser fight. Continuing with the minimalistic presentation that Ghost Time have set up throughout, it’s mere Quick Time Events that are mildly engaging. I’m not going to complain, since it’s not a core part of gameplay, but it’s also not what the main focus is, and that we’ll get to.
Despite how much of a non-option general gameplay feels, there’s a lot of interactivity within the worlds that Jettomero will crash on, but this all falls in within his personality anyway. All he can do is destroy, it’s what he’s built to do. both man and man-made obstacles pose no threat to Jett’ – he’s a mythical metal god that cannot be destroyed by any force unless he himself chose to. “So, what’s the point, you tit?!”, is what you’re currently screaming at me right now. Well, Mr. Voiceinmyhead IV, the point is the character study of Jettomero himself.
Perhaps this is one of those things that would translate a helluva lot better in some form of animated series, as the game itself is pretty inaccessible, despite its simplicity. However, it must be said that the character arc of Jettomero is one of normalcy, but also sheer genius. Right from the get-go, it’s obvious that whatever has happened to Jett’ in the past, it’s clear it’s something he didn’t mean to do, but he’s oblivious to his own actions.
Jett’ sees himself as a hero, a demigod that is here to save the day for the humans, all the while causing collateral damage which WE know is purely accidental, but the general world population in-game does not. And it’s a tragic tale of prejudice that we’ve seen before, like in the cult film The Iron Giant, but with a more minimalistic approach that hits just as hard as the animated classic from the 90s.
Also added in the game is a small, but varied customization option to make Jett’ more like the robot YOU’D be. You can get top hats, pincer arms, capes, evil moustaches, all sorts of cosmetics that make your playthrough that much more of a unique experience. My only small gripe with that is the fact that you have to unlock parts you’d want, and even then you don’t get to choose. Regardless, it still helps make an impact on the player, as you traverse planets while having chainsaws for arms.
The only issue that comes from the game taking this direction is the simple, but also incredibly fidgety and obtuse gameplay of controlling Jettomero. But is that the point? Obviously, controlling a 2000-ton robot isn’t going to be like a simple car with four wheels, but does that stop YOU from enjoying Jettomero, not just as a narrative experience, but as a game as well?
I don’t think so, personally. Ghost Time Games has crafted something worth playing, and by extension, feeling as well. What happens in Jettomero isn’t something tried and tested, despite Ghost Time making it look like child’s play, and they’ve made a small game make massive leaps and bounds amongst all other indie titles in recent times.
You owe it to yourself to play Jettomero. The price tag of 15 bucks might scare you off, but I left the experience fulfilled and happy. Its design is a bit silly, and there may be a whole lot of nothing in the worlds that follow, but it’s the character of Jettomero himself that is the real meat to the entire journey.
Wonderful, simply wonderful.
A charming world-hopper filled with small dreams, which ends up making an big, endearing splash.