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Game Rant’s Riley Little reviews Joe Danger: Special Edition

Joe Danger originally released on the PS3 over a year ago as a downloadable PSN title and it has finally made its way over to the Xbox 360 in the form of Joe Danger: Special Edition. With over a year and a half of time between the game’s releases, what kind of changes can gamers who played the initial title expect?

Everything has remained nearly identical to the experience that could be found on the PS3 for quite some time, but that’s by no means a bad thing.

Joe Danger: Special Edition is a story about a stunt man — appropriately named Joe Danger — who was a mega star back in the 70’s, before being put out of the adrenaline-seeking game by a life threatening injury. Fast forward to present day, and Joe has not only shaved his awesome moustache, but he’s also trying to reclaim his former glory. In order to do so, Danger will have to keep the spotlight on himself by staying a current face in different forms of daredevil-eccentric media — which act as portals to the different challenges that await players.

The gameplay itself is pretty straightforward, because it’s pretty much what players would expect from a 2D motorcycle video game. There are jumps, tricks to perform, and a finish line, but don’t be so naive to dismiss Joe Danger as just another racing game, because it provides a much deeper experience than initially meets the eye.

Joe Danger Special Edition XBLA

Joe Danger: Special Edition isn’t easy to pigeonhole but the most obvious titles that offer a comparable experience are likely Excitebike and Trials HD — with a little bit of the original arcady Tony Hawk. It combines cartoony graphics, precise controls, challenging tasks, and much more into one very nice downloadable package. The great thing about Joe Danger is just how difficult or easy the game can be, and that’s based completely on how the title is approached. It has that pickup-and-play aspect that makes it very approachable to newcomers, but those looking to complete the game will find it an extremely challenging and addictive experience.

Players will have to tackle several different types of obstacles and challenges throughout the entirety of Joe Danger: Special Edition. For a majority of the title, players will be tasked with several different challenges that will grant them stars. Some tasks will include finishing the course within a preset amount of time, combining tricks together throughout the entirety of the course, and gathering all the collectibles. Completing these challenges will grant Joe stars, which can then be used to unlock new areas. The ‘Special Edition’ portion of Joe Danger: Special Edition is, more or less, an entirely new area called ‘The Lab’, which offers a new single-player portion of the game that is roughly 2/3 of the original ‘Career’ mode found in the PSN’s Joe Danger. There are also races and — oddly enough — a bowling-based mini-game, in which Joe takes on to role of a ball after being ejected from his bike.

On top of all the delectable single-player content, Joe Danger attempts to appeal to anyone who wants to dive into some local multiplayer racing. The only downside to the game, however, is the lack of online multiplayer. Even if this game supported online, there aren’t very many multiplayer race tracks choose from, and the few tracks that are available offer little-to-no challenge whatsoever. Multiplayer in general is an afterthought, rather than a fully-supported mode, which is a bit sad considering that the game could have really shined in that area.

Joe Danger XBLA

Fortunately, there is a ‘Sandbox’ mode, which gives individuals the option of creating their own course. This build-a-track mode ensures that players will be able to keep providing themselves with new raceways, long after they’ve completed all of the ones that come pre-build in Joe Danger. These fan-made tracks can then be sent to other friends that also own Joe Danger: Special Edition, which is a mild (but appreciated) step in the right direction for the multiplayer community — or complete lack thereof.

It’s very rare that any game can appeal to such a wide audience, but the developers at Hello Games have been able to do just that. Some areas of control require such precision that certain moments feel more like a platformer than an actual racing game, and while newbies may steer clear of those hard-pressing challenges, completing those tricky parts of the game make the entire experience unbelievably satisfying. Hard to collect coins will help unlock in-game costumes, gamer pictures, and items for the player’s Xbox Avatar, so those only add to the impulsive need to attempt to complete every challenge available in the title.

Joe Danger: Special Edition is one of the best downloadable games that money can buy for the single-player experience alone. Be sure to check it out now by either buying it or downloading the demo.

If you do decide to purchase the game, or already own it, then it should also be noted that Hello Games is giving away a free downloadable Santa character and ATV for a limited time; so be sure to download that little gift ASAP.

Follow me on Twitter @TheRileyLittle

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