Name: Jet Lancer
Developer: Code Wakers
Genre: Arcade shoot em up
MSRB( at time of writing): $14.99
Jet Lancer brings a refreshing and nostalgic sense of arcade fun to it’s dogfights. It does so with a beautiful, lighthearted shoot ’em aesthetic that shows its teeth when it comes to gameplay difficulty.
The main core of the gameplay is a simple fighter pilot vs hordes of enemies in various dogfights, in a very similar vein to Luftrausers. You have a dodge move that negates all potential damage, an afterburner for speed, and several different types of weapons.
I love the core gameplay which is fast and kinetic, and takes a level of skill and finesse to pull off, especially during higher level dogfights, where enemies fill the screen with dozens of bullets and rockets.
At first glance, the gameplay seems simple enough. The game is 2D with an emphasis on speed and maneuverability, and memorizing attack patterns. This challenge ramps up, and soon the dogfight becomes a desperate struggle for survival
You are the definition of a glass cannon, able to tank three hits before death with no way to heal in game, leading to a buildup of tension as the level progresses. This aspect of nervously dodging attacks on your last bar of health really enhances the gameplay nicely. It gives a lot of tension, due to a game over sending you back to the start of the level. It also gives off an adrenaline rush similar to a Dark Souls boss, which i greatly appreciated
There’s a multitude of unlockable weapons from guided missiles, to summoning drones, and overpowered railguns. While they do change the way the game is played, I feel that there needs to be more to add complexity to your choices. This is Jet Lancer’s biggest problem: a lack of ship customization.
At the writing of this review there are two game modes: Story mode and Arcade mode.
Story, as one might guess, is the game’s campaign, surrounding a disgraced pilot seeking work as a mercenary, and trying to fight off an overwhelming enemy force. It’s a decent story, with fun character moments and a good plot. Once you beat it you’ll probably never play it again though.
For me the best part was Arcade mode, where it throws you against an endless wave of enemies, with a rogue-lite loot system.
Arcade mode is fun, though it harbors Jet Lancer’s deepest problem: the lack of customization. There are four ships in the game, which range in size, speed, and primary weapon (machine gun, flamethrower etc).
Beyond that however, the game lacks any real customization, even cosmetic. The planes are all painted in the same pinkish hue and even have the same sounds when dodging. The core game is great, but I feel that the lack of customization really hamstring the whole roguelike appeal of the Arcade mode.
Despite this one gripe, I think it’s a worthy buy. It’s dogfights are pure fun, and looks beautiful, along with stellar songs. Absolutely pick this game up if it’s on sale, even if you’re cautious about the lack of replayability.