Review: Jet Island
Not for the VR squeamish, impressive in scope.
You’d have thought that movement schemes in virtual reality (VR) involving swinging, sudden direction changes and falling great distances would be a no go area for VR videogames. These type of conditions can be major red lights for those that get motion sickness yet titles like Windlands 2 showcase there is a market for hardcore VR players. While Psytec Games’ project is very much a Spider-Man style experience developer Master Indie has gone one stage further, offering a massive open world called Jet Island where you’ll quickly learn if you can handle intense VR.
The name really says it all as you’ll find yourself on an impressive looking land mass to explore, with two jet powered gloves attached to your hands. This isn’t a videogame where you run or walk anywhere however as attached to your feet is a hoverboard, and for added good measure a nice hookshot to help traverse those large distances.
And what an expanse it is. Not because the world of Jet Island looks particularly amazing – the actual objects littered around are fairly basic and so are the textures – it’s just the shear scope of everything. Windlands 2 is tightly packed for maximum swinging opportunities whereas Jet Island is about gaining speed on mountains or ramps, hopefully gaining enough momentum for some epic jumps then hooking onto a ledge for extra distance.
As mentioned this is not a videogame for the VR squeamish, due to the fast speed, falling – it’ll happen quite a bit – sudden direction changes you need a strong stomach to handle getting about, but especially when dealing with the bosses. Yeah that’s right this isn’t just a simple exploration title – it’s very sparse to be fair – with the developer adding four big beasts to deal with. Each of them has a big blue crystal located somewhere on their body which needs destroying with the gun on your arm – yeah those gloves come with retractable guns. Located in what looks like a giant planet these bosses also serve to upgrade your equipment once defeated. Should any prove to be too difficult then there’s always co-op multiplayer.
Before you try the bosses though its best to really practice with those movement options. The jets gloves only have a limited burn time and once drained take a couple of seconds to recharge. That may not be long but that’s plenty of time to find yourself in the wrong spot, heading for a watery demise. Should that happen then you’ll respawn at the last checkpoint activated which aren’t hard to miss – they’re big blue and glowing.
Jet Island doesn’t look like much in comparison to some VR titles yet it offers a wealth of challenges for those that want to put the time in and explore. You can completely ignore the bosses and just whizz around the landscape to your hearts content, which in itself isn’t easy, yet that would be missing out on an important chunk of the experience. Not one for every gamer, Jet Island is certainly worth a look for those with VR legs.