From developer Space Mace, Joggernauts is a refreshingly fun and colorful game that requires a lot more skill than first impressions would suggest. Advertised as an auto-scrolling platformer, Joggernauts requires the player to control two color-coded avatars, jumping with each separately, and switching between the two to pass through the matching color barriers. Although it has many of the features you would expect from a traditional platformer, it also provides a unique art style and playful music. This review takes a look at several facets of the game, including controls, presentation, and overall gameplay, ultimately providing an evaluation of the game as a whole.
Mechanically, the game is deceptively straightforward. You push one button to jump for each character, and one to switch between them, utilizing three total buttons to coordinate dodging obstacles and engaging barriers with the correct color character. There’s even a laughably simple tutorial that gives the player a very false sense of confidence. This feeling of aptitude is quickly shattered, as the player realizes the inherent difficultly in maintaining control over two separate entities while also keeping track of their relative position to each other. The result is a game that poses a significant challenge, but rewards improvement in timing, memorization and pattern recognition. Each level brings increasing difficulty and new mechanics, which keeps the player striving for map completion. As with most platformers, there is very little plot associated with the gameplay itself, which, given the quality of the humor and writing in the brief moments it is used, seems like it would have been an excellent addition to the game.
Visual and Audio: 9/10
Joggernauts makes great use of bright, vibrant colors, not only because the actual mechanics of the game require a clear distinction in colors for appropriate switching of characters, but also because it accurately reflects the playful tone of the game itself. Beyond the color selection, the art style is absurd and surreal, maintaining a wonderful sense of humor that keeps the extremely difficult, repetitive gameplay from becoming aggravating. The levels are also well designed, and visually easy to navigate. In regards to the soundtrack, the music that accompanies Joggernauts is an eclectic composition of catchy, upbeat songs that maintain levity for the player even as they attempt the same trophy dozens of times in a row.
Despite the amazing gameplay and engaging visuals, the glaring issue with Joggernauts is that the game is extremely short. With only three worlds, each which only 8 or so levels, the game ends right when you feel like you’re finally becoming proficient. The game does allow for increased difficulty modifiers, and has excellent replay value for multi-player, but the single-player challenge is too brief. In terms of price, $15 dollars seems fair given the fluidity and originality of the game, making the game neither prohibitively expensive nor an exceptional steal.
Overall, we give Joggernauts an 8.5/10. The game is incredibly fun and challenging, and although it provides a traditional platformer experience it adds an additional layer of mechanics that gives the player a whole new skillset to develop. Although brief, Joggernauts is a game that delights from start to finish, and we definitely recommend it for those excited by the auto-scrolling platformer genre.