Where were you when the indie game boom happened? It was refreshing and exciting. Why wait that every few Tuesdays for a subpar AAA title when we have cool indie games released every day!? It felt like each one was better than the last one. Until you realized a lot of the games were not that great. They were just different. And just being different is not good enough.
Jettomero is one of those indie games. It looks so good and just oozes style. The colors pop, the art style is unique, and the characters look like nothing before it. And that is really where it ends. Flying through galaxies as the Iron Giant was fun to look at. The music was serviceable in my opinion but others may love it. The Hero of the Universe sounds like when your best friend is way to into electronic/ dance and drags you to that run down venue a few blocks away from your house. You don’t hate it. With the right drugs you might even like it. But as an experience, you are just over it.
Sometimes I think indie game developers forget the game part of design. The short tutorial informs you how to do the basics. And when it described walking around it mentions how the giant is just not good at walking. An oversight by it’s creators? A clear design choice in hopes of making the giant appear aloof and perhaps give him some character. Instead it just becomes a chore as you stumble and trip your way around the numerous globes you visit.
Combat comes in one form as the humans on these planets cannot harm you. So there is no threat from the ballistics and bullets fired from the ground. Another design choice as the giant says since they cannot harm him, he will not engage. By removing that threat there is nothing to do other than wobble around collecting fuel that itself is not all too important. Eventually you will encounter enemies in the form of other Iron Giants. Every battle is a PaRappa the Rapper style QTE as both giants stand in place and shoot lasers from their eyes resembling a Dragon Ball Z kamehameha wave struggle. Neat the first time, a bore every time after that.
Jettomero flies to a planet, walks around, looks for another robot, PaRappea it to death, collects fuel, and then rinse and repeat. There is no game, no challenge. The Hero of the Universe seems more like a demo for someone’s new music album. Every now and then there is a game like Flower or Journey where it’s clearly not traditional game. They don’t intend to compete with a AAA title full of realistic graphics and guns. And that is more than okay because those are pretty darn good. Jettomero could have been one of those if it focused a little more on actual gameplay.