Joe Danger Special Edition Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360
Joe Danger Special Edition screenshot
Joe Danger Special Edition screenshot

As a child, I always used to doodle a wicked sweet pair of shades and a massive grin on the sun, forever beaming comforting Crayola rays in the background of my picturesque scrawls. I grew up with age. Guildford-based Hello Games, thankfully, did not: Joe Danger's cardinal rule seems to be that if you can draw a smiley face on something then you absolutely must.

Joe Danger is a bright, saccharine game and those used to the monochromatic will probably need to wear sunglasses while playing until their eyes adjust. But, really, who hasn't missed the days where big red springs and chunky spike pits were major design features?

This XBLA-exclusive Special Edition, released over a year after its vanilla PlayStation Network counterpart, arrives with a surprisingly candid confession on behalf of its development team: Joe Danger, the motorcycle aficionado dubbed in-game as the world's most determined stuntman, was released last year because the team ran out of money.

Joe Danger: Special Edition, then, arrives with the promise of refinement - the original's jagged edges have been smoothed over. Quite literally, in fact; tweaked innards help the game run with 4x MSAA and a sharp reduction in load times, and the game's pleasing rhythms of trial-and-error now culminate in a leaderboard screen that actually pops up with gusto.

While Joe Danger initially looks and feels like a retro homage, it's actually more of a celebration of youth in all its exuberant buoyancy. This isn't a title simply trying to ape the spirit of the 90s, then, but a game made by a team collectively imprinted with the memories and experiences of growing up with the SNES, Mega Drive and original PlayStation.

The studio has expanded since the original release, but the gaming influences of the original Hello Games quartet become Joe Danger's criss-crossing objectives, with noticeable hints of Excitebike, Sonic the Hedgehog and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater mixing together. Initially the mass of objectives can prove slightly daunting, with players being asked to simultaneously navigate branching lanes, gather D-A-N-G-E-R letters, boost, collect hidden stars, spin, maximise an uninterrupted flowing combo and pull off sweet tricks.

Joe Danger clicks after a couple of hours, but even after multiple sessions with the game the amount of actions can occasionally prove overwhelming. Yet the game's charm and design ensure that you're never far away from having another go - while the game is unashamedly trial-and-error, its main priority is to ensure you have fun - and the gradual difficulty curve helps keep Joe's motor running.

New stuff to check out

8 Comments

To add your comment, please login or register

User Comments

dav2612's Avatar

dav2612@ StreetsOfSage

I'd say it does. There are a lot of events and a lot of challenges within each event.
Posted 09:37 on 20 December 2011
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk

Still need to download the trial for this - shall do so immediately!
Posted 13:50 on 19 December 2011
StreetsOfSage's Avatar

StreetsOfSage

Hey, downloaded the trial version of Joe Danger over the weekend on PSN, to my surprise a very fun game. Just wanted to know if you reckon the full version is worth the price, i believe it's £9.99. Does the full game offer enough value ?
Posted 11:22 on 19 December 2011
dav2612's Avatar

dav2612@ Wido

The leaderboards is where it failed on the PS3, at least with the friends list I have.
Posted 13:27 on 16 December 2011
Wido's Avatar

Wido

Nice read! Not played the game too much, as I want to clear up some games this festive holiday so I can invest more time in the game! Those leaderboards is one component why this game will be addicting.
Posted 13:23 on 16 December 2011
pblive's Avatar

pblive

Might have to grab this over the holidays.
Posted 13:20 on 16 December 2011
FantasyMeister's Avatar

FantasyMeister

Yeah, I was watching it and thinking "I know that guy!" Looks like you'll have to go back and reclaim your top spot on a few of those scores though :)
Posted 11:01 on 16 December 2011
Ghost5's Avatar

Ghost5

Great review and I agree with it fully. Hopefully they can release an update with the ability to save replays?

I've been wanting this game for ages and bought it as soon as the game was on XBLA on Wednesday!

Nice to see my high score on the first level top of the leaderboards in the gameplay video! ^_^
Posted 10:31 on 16 December 2011

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Joe Danger Special Edition
9
Out of 10
Joe Danger Special Edition
  • Charming
  • Challenging
  • Fun
  • Replays can't be saved
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 01/01/2012
Platform: Xbox 360
Developer: Hello Games
Genre: Racing
Rating: TBC
Site Rank: 753 212
View Full Site