Jett Rider the hero jett flying about with enemies lurking beyond

Jett Rider Review

Game: Jett Rider
Genre: Action, Adventure, Arcade 
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam (Windows), PS4 and Xbox)
Developer|Publisher: Last Chicken Games | JanduSoft
Age Rating: EU 7+ | US Everyone 10+
Price: US $12.49 | UK £11.49 | EU €12,49
Release Date: January 25th, 2024

Review code provided with many thanks to JanduSoft.

Jett Rider Arcade Action With a Hint of Nostalgia

Jett Rider is a 2D platformer shooter that wears its arcade inspirations on its little space suit. This is another title that, from appearances, doesn’t appear like much with a simple graphic style. In fact, when I first started playing this game, I was getting nostalgic for the old 2D platformers I used to play on my Dad’s old Windows ver 3.1 computer. But despite limitations and what is likely a small development budget. Jett Rider takes full advantage of the best parts of gaming nostalgia and creates a gripping experience that had me hooked. Though not without a few niggles Jett Rider is a fun jet-pack adventure well worth flying to the eShop to seek out. 

Landing on a New World

You take control of a space explorer, Jett, who has landed on the planet Gravos looking for the wreckage of a cargo ship, but things quickly go wrong. Accompanied with your robot pal, you initially need to repair your ship. But due to a nasty robot menace, you’ll soon find yourself calling to save the inhabitants of the planet. It is a basic, straightforward narrative for an action game.

The developers attempt to dress the narrative up with a lot of humour and pop culture references. I have to say I found a lot of this just didn’t hit the mark for me. The game repeats a joke of calling the NPCs ‘buddies’, which I failed to see the funny side of. This is most likely because I have played far too many action-adventure games where humour is often forced into the story to lighten the mood. So, I guess I’m craving a back-to-basics approach. That’s not to say there is no merit to the story. I did like how there is a big focus on finding rubbish like scrap metal and poisonous barrels and recycling them to gain more gems, the game’s currency, to upgrade equipment.

As a lover of retro games, I did grin at the various retro game references to arcade greats like Donkey Kong, Pac-Man and space shooters in general (or shmups). Whether the story hits the mark or not, Jett Rider more than makes up for it in its gameplay.

Jett Rider helping the local npcs
Help out the locals.

Exploration With a Jet Pack

Jett Riders’ design is an action-adventure. Your general objective is to explore the world, seeking out your objectives, which are clearly indicated on a handy mini. This might be finding space rubbish and throwing it in a handy recycle bin, seeking out a special key, and, of course, taking on a few boss battles.

Controls are very simple to pick up, with helpful visual displays during gameplay to get you going. The key feature to fly about is your jet pack, which runs on a stamina meter. Once you get into its rhythm, it’s satisfying to weave around hazards and avoid enemy fire. Flying about is a lot of fun, and the game is all the more rewarding if you take the time to explore the levels and search for secrets. Hidden within the levels are these golden idols, and you’re really going to want to take the time to find them since you’re rewarded with useful upgrades to your character, like new abilities and weapons which further enhance the gameplay. 

Arcade Shooting

Speaking of gameplay, Jett Rider has a satisfying arcade kick to it. You are able to carry two weapons at once, and each one is mapped to a single button, making it easy to access and use. There are a variety of weapons to discover, from familiar machine guns to rocket launchers and lasers. But you will discover some more obscure choices, ones I won’t spoil here. What’s unique about each weapon is they each have strengths towards specific enemy types such as elemental, water-based, or robotic enemies. I really liked the subtle touches, like how the flamethrower doesn’t function underwater.

You can upgrade each weapon with the gems you collect from fallen enemies, recycled items or just hidden around the map. It’s satisfying to see each weapon become stronger, but I often focus on just upgrading a few weapons and sticking with them. Even if they were not perfect for the situation, with their damage increased, I found I was able to manage. Plus, there was the irritation of having to fly back to the vendor every time to swap weapons out.

Regardless of my complaints, the gameplay is very satisfying. It’s easy to use and, combined with the jet pack, adds to the overall immersion, creating an engaging gameplay experience. This made the desire to explore old areas for secrets all the more compelling. 

Jett Rider shooting in space
Who needs a spaceship when you have a jet pack


Jett Rider does offer a hefty but fair difficulty. While you have a health bar, some enemies and hazards can take you out in a single hit. Boss fights offer a meaty challenge with varied and changing patterns, even if they are repeated throughout the game. There is a nice variety of boss encounters, some of which take heavy inspiration from the arcade greats.

My favourite was using an umbrella to hit back projectiles towards a mischievous monkey. If I missed it would take out a section of the floor below me like a reverse Breakout. Save points are pretty generous and will fully replenish your health; they are often carefully placed just before a difficult boss to avoid frustration. But you will need to remember to save manually, as there is no auto-save feature here. 

Simple But Effective

As mentioned at the start, the graphics have a simplistic look to them. Sprite design is simple, with minimal animations. Jett and other sprites don’t have a turning animation, giving everything a sort of paper feel to it. The level design is decent. I liked the general layout of the planet Gravos, which mixes unusual alien foliage with crystal-like caverns being mined by robot machines. The game is also consistent with its NPC design. The residents of Gravos are these unusual green slug-like creatures dressed in robes, giving the planet a unique feeling to its society.

There’s a decent variety of enemies. Much like the graphical limitations, enemies are recycled and feel a bit random in tone. You have this really interesting marine life underwater and floating fish flying in the skies, which look great. But then you get choices like dragons breathing fire, which feel like they would be better suited to a fantasy setting than an alien world.

Jett Rider ran very well in handheld and TV mode. I had one encounter when a game’s cutscene failed to load correctly, but fortunately, I was able to skip this and continue on with the game without any issues. 

Jett Rider big boss fight
Expect many retro-gaming references.

Conclusion: Arcade Adventure Hit

Jett Rider brilliantly blends exploration with arcade action to create a gameplay experience that’s hard to put down after you take off from your jet pack the first time. The game may have limitations with its narrative and graphics, but this is more than made up for by its core gameplay focus. With a focus on arcade gameplay, it manages to set itself apart, appealing to retro fans and gamers who like a good adventure. Tied in with a nice price point, I absolutely recommend Jet Rider.

I like it a lot

Still thinking about it? There’s a free demo available now on the eShop.

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