Kave is the chief of his tribe until he gets banished by his own people. Soon after being cast out, he stumbles across a jetpack. The jetpack’s previous owner is an alien who crash-landed on Earth. The alien’s ship is damaged and the only way to repair it, seems to involve something dangerous with a volcano. You play as Kave, on an adventure to stop the alien and prove his worth to the tribe. Jet Kave Adventure is a 2.5D platformer set in a prehistoric world where man and dinosaur exist together. You wield a club, which you use as your main attack (there is no jumping on enemies here) and throw stones as a ranged attack.
What does 2.5D mean, is it simply a 2D platformer with 3D sprites? Maybe, but I prefer to think of games like Tomba! In that game, the extra half dimension is used in interesting ways, like the ability to move between the foreground and background. In the recent Donkey Kong games (Which Jet Kave is obviously inspired by) sometimes the camera will move drastically and change the depth of field. Set-pieces stick out and don’t exist in the same 2D space as Kong. Unfortunately, this is not the case for Jet Kave. The levels look nice thanks to the art style and detailed backgrounds, but that is juxtaposed with how basic and uninspiring the gameplay is. The camera is rather static, and there are limited set pieces that utilize that extra half dimension.
There are thirty-six levels in this game, split up evenly into four biomes; Cave, Beach, Jungle and Volcano. During the first two, the jetpack doesn’t really provide any exciting gameplay or level exploration. You can use your jetpack as a hover jump or dash. The main purpose of this is to clear larger gaps, jump higher to collect shells (The games version of DK’s bananas) and every so often you need to dash into a wall to break it. It wasn’t till you reach the jungle (¾ of the way through the game) that the levels introduce a sense of verticality.
I suppose the Jetpack did contribute to how fast-paced this game was, which I enjoyed. But the pace of the game is more likely due to how incredibly easy it is. You can sprint through levels, not worrying much about taking too much damage as there is a large number of checkpoints and health items. Occasionally platforming is broken up by flight sequences which controlled poorly and chase sequences which were actually quite fun and provide increased difficulty. Of course, there are boss fights, but every single one consists of waiting for the boss to do their main attack, dodging it and hitting them when they are dazed.
Every level has four optional challenges; find the secret, collect a certain number of shells, beat the time and take no damage. Finding the secret and shell collection is far too easy, and you won’t often need to replay a level to complete them. The no damage and time challenge runs are quite tricky and will take numerous times to complete, so on the off chance you really enjoyed this game, there is some replayability.
There are some other aspects of Jet Kave that I enjoyed. Firstly there are no lives. Yes, this does make the game even easier, but I believe lives are an outdated mechanic which seem only to exist to reward you for collecting coins, bananas or shells. In Jet Kave Adventure you have a better reason to collect the shells; you can use these to purchase upgrades for Kave like extra health, jet pack juice and damage to your club.
Jet Kave Adventure looks nice and it runs great on the Switch. You will never be frustrated by it, and occasionally you could have some fun. But the majority of the time it’s rather dull and doesn’t do anything interesting enough for it to stand out from the huge amount of platformers already on Switch.
+ Fast paced.
- Too easy.