The Latest

Joe Danger: Special Edition Review

What is the concept? Games which try to synthesize an assortment of popular mechanics often end up becoming less that the sum of their parts. Fortunately, that tenet doesn’t hold true for Joe Danger: Special Edition– a game that deftly combines the precarious physics-based biking of Trials HD with the outrageous stunts which catapulted early Tony Hawk titles to critical acclaim. While retaining the cartoonish charm and addictive gameplay of its PS3 predecessor, the XBLA iteration of the game delivers enough additional polish, tweaks, and additions to propel Joe Danger headfirst into must-purchase territory.

Attempting a career revival after a disheartening crash, each stage tasks Joe the daredevil with an increasingly complex collection of crowd-pleasing maneuvers. From collecting every single blue star, nabbing floating letters which spell “danger”, crossing the finish line before a time-limit expires, or even stunting through an entire level, the title is teeming with objectives. Although players can accomplish all of these challenges in a single run (earning a modestly monikered Pro Medal in the process), the game’s forte is its freedom. Completion of a few undertakings is often enough to open subsequent stages- allowing players the choice of moving forward or stalwartly sticking around until every last award has been earned.

Once players persevere through Joe Danger’s robust main campaign, they’ll likely find that they have the requisite skills to surmount the imaginative Lab levels. These twenty-five supplemental trials evolved from the developer’s efforts to hone the title’s razor-sharp handling, and offer some of the most masochistic moments for players hoping to squeeze every achievement out of the game.

Would I enjoy the game? Long before Joe Danger jumps to expletive-ejecting heights, the title offers a genial ramp of increasing difficultly, steadily requiring mastery of a steadily increasing skillset. For obsessive gamers, the title’s catalog of gratifying challenges are capable of sustaining hours of enjoyment. With end-of-level leaderboards which assess a player’s score against their friend’s list, determined gamers are certain to find delight in Danger’s competitive vibe, as well.

Beyond a multitude of single and multiplayer challenges, the game’s greatest virtue is its design philosophy. One example- instead of forcing players through a tutorial for the title’s construction set, players learn the fundamental of level design through puzzle-like elements embedding into the main game. Here, sections ask players to removes an obstruction or drop a well-placed ramp so Joe can reach the finish line. This type of playful attitude seem to permeate through Joe Danger, as if the designers constantly contemplated how they could tweak the title to make it even more enjoyable. Consequently, gamers who delve into the title will discover a plethora of playful touches- like alternating from wheeie to endo in order to maximize their scoring combo.

What are the game’s strengths? Remarkably, Joe Danger’s divergent mechanics- racing, platforming, stunting, and restrained puzzle elements, all meld into a synergistic whole. As such, this variety helps fuel the title through its 75+ level trek, overcoming the monotony which is common to many simpler, physics-based, vehicular amusements. Aesthetically, the game exhibits a fastidious amount of polish. With quicker load times, improved anti-aliasing, and an unwavering framerate, the title subtly outshines its keenly-coded predecessor.

What are the game’s weaknesses? Building on the established aptitude of the PlayStation 3 version, Joe Danger: Special Edition has no debilitating flaws, although a few blemishes do exist. Although players have the ability to share their custom tracks with people on their Xbox Live friends list, it would have been pleasing to grab creations from the fan-base at large. Additionally, a few more music tracks and sound samples would have bolstered the game’s aural delivery.

Is it worth the money? While Joe Danger’s fifteen dollar price point might prohibit a spontaneous purchase from frugal minded gamers- with at least twelve hours to content to keep players stunting, racing, and vying against online and split-screen competitors, the title delivers an impressive amount of content. Throw in a bit of free, holiday-themed DLC which supplies a markedly divergent physics model, and Danger might be the one downloadable title players shouldn’t overlook this season.

A copy of Joe Danger: Special Edition for the Xbox 360 was provided by the publisher for review.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

31 comments

  1. Wow, A- I’ll definitely try the demo out now.

  2. Is it me or did they bring the angle down from the PS3 version?

    BTW- Kickass game. Xbox owners should support the team. I think it’s like 3 guys.

    • If they did that, any people who owned both consoles wouldn’t upgrade to this version.

      They’d be shooting themselves in the foot.

  3. I would be real nice if the developers created a patch for PS3 owners that gave them the new content.

  4. Looks pretty colorful and fun. Hows the multiplayer?

  5. I don’t know why everyone is comparing this game to Trials HD. That game isn’t fun at all and way too frustrating for anyone I know.

  6. One less reason to own a PS3, since this was an exclusive that runs better on the 360.

    • C’mon people. Lets now starting hoping on the the troll train. Save that for IGN, but don’t wreck this site please.

  7. Cabbage Patch Wino

    A review a day from Deagle? Gadzucks, you’re on a roll. You’re like Mr. Domino!

  8. Did the PS3 version have loops? I didn’t play it, but I don’t remember seeing anything about those.

  9. Lara Crofts Left Boob

    JD is one of the top 5 PS3 DLC games. For Microsoft that’s like a minor victory now that its on XBLA.

  10. After playing the demo I was hooked. Great graphics, really tight control and some solid level design. Well worth the $15 dollars- I played this for longer that some $60 disc games.

    One thing Deagle- you should get the devs on the podcast for the fans.

  11. I played the PS3 version. It had all the color, polish, and charm of a Nintendo game. Xbox owners should nab this one is thy life fun.

  12. I just spend the better part of an hour trying to beat one of the lab levels. That is both an endorsement and warning.

    I like the format for your DLC reviews. East to read and follow, yet still flows.

  13. Deagle your reviewing speed is dangerous. Download the huge 1.6 Gb demo right now, but I’ll take a DLC code is you got one! 😉

  14. You can’t fall in love with a game with giant donuts on pick up trucks and smiling wood blocks in the background?

  15. Hello Games are an English studio, right?

    I can’t shake the feeling that JD is poking fun at America. Desert locations seem to make it set in the SW U.S. (Sage-territory, right?)

    – oversized donuts on pickup trucks?
    – advertising on everything?
    – reckless hero trying to make a come-back?
    – announcer doesn’t sound like he’s from London…

    Am I right?

    • No dude, I’m not seeing it. Maybe you ate a bad can of Cool Beans or drank some expired Tea Rex?

    • I think you’re looking too deep into a simple, fun little game. Lots of games are set in the US. You think Kojima is saying something about the military with Solid Snake and the Metal Gear series, too?

  16. I’m really surprised that Microsoft has gobbled up Hello yet, like they did with Rare. Three guys that show that can make a really fun, nice looking game. Why not?

    • Yeah but what has Rare put out lately? I I’m sure MS lost money on that deal and would be shy to do it again.

  17. Yeah but what has Rare put out lately? I I’m sure MS lost money on that deal and would be shy to do it again.

  18. Yeah but what has Rare put out lately? I I’m sure MS lost money on that deal and would be shy to do it again.

  19. Really fun game. The its like Trials HD but without the super annoying near impossible levels.

  20. How much is the PS3 one these days? I’d pick it up if it’s 10 or less.

  21. I hate the person who OK’ed spikes on a stunt track. SPIKES! That is wrong/

  22. Of course he is. Or are you being sarcastic?

    With the internet it can be hard to tell sometimes.

  23. One of the best demos I’ve played in a while. I’m really tempted to get the full game.

  24. I really liked the demo. I might have to buy the full game today.