I knew absolutely nothing about Jet Lancer as I loaded this up on my Nintendo Switch. From the trailer I watched, I assumed I would simply be playing another indie action game but with jet planes. As I began playing, however, I quickly realized that this is something special, and it is an indie game that everyone should try whether you like the genre or not. Jet Lancer does so many things right that it is truly hard to find any flaws. Let’s find out why in our review!
In Jet Lancer, you play as Ash Leguinn, a troubled flight school dropout turned mercenary. Although she has dropped out of the flight school, she is constantly requested to assist the academy in order to defend the skies against those nasty space pirates.
In normal fashion, as the story progresses and people’s motives are revealed, Ash Leguinn realized that things are much more complicated than she could have ever imagined, and it is a dark and twisted pathway forward for the badass mercenary.
The story is actually a lot of fun, and each of the characters, particularly Ash and Lem, a talking cat, are full of life and add so much to the already interesting story. For a shoot-em-up, I was honestly not expecting so much, and I was pleasantly surprised.
Jet Lancer is an arcade-style shoot-em-up, but I am so impressed with how the developers took such an old genre and did something completely unique with it. Vladimir Fedyushkin and Nicolai Danielsen did a fantastic job of taking ideas from recent aerial shooters, putting their own spin on it, and birthing what could possibly be the future of the genre.
The game almost immediately throws you into the action after a couple brief tutorials. The controls are odd at first, because you are given full control of your jet propulsion and can turn it off whenever you like. This allows you to make wild turns and do death-defying stunts with ease.
The other two major actions are your acceleration boost and dodge roll. With the acceleration boost, zipping around stages is done at the snap of a finger, but be warned, using this boost too long with overheat the plane and cause you to be in a vulnerable state, which is quite dangerous, considering you only get three points of health.
Dodge rolling is a gift of the creators. This allows you to become invulnerable for a second while plowing through a wall of bullets or a row of enemies, and the timing is key. Learning to know when to apply your dodge roll can be the difference maker in an intense boss fight.
And let me tell you, the boss fights in Jet Lancer are amazing.
Throughout the 30 missions, you will encounter 11 different bosses that will cover lots of the screen and require you to be at your best. Taking all of the essentials you learned from the tutorial and mastering them will help make these boss fights more manageable and fun.
There are also tons of loadouts with lots of different guns, payloads, and flight components to assist you in your missions. Customizing your loadouts gives you so much freedom in how you approach a situation and makes for some extra-thrilling gameplay.
Finally, scoring is here to tickle the fancies of those who love to brag about how great they are at these types of games, and Jet Lancer is no joke. If you can impress on these leaderboards, you are a force to be reckoned with.
The game simply sounds amazing. From the intensity of the jet propulsions to the crash and explosion of the enemies, Jet Lancer just does a great job of making you feel like you are in the cockpit of a jet and flying for your life.
The soundtrack also is a lot of fun and adds so much to the experience. The combination of different hard rock styles and metal is so fitting, because it is the kind of music you need to hear as you perform insane technical feats.
VISUALS & PERFORMANCE
The game looks absolutely gorgeous. The bright and vibrant pixel art coupled by the simple backdrops help keep the player’s focus on the action in front. The style and aesthetic do wonders for the game and help elevate this as one of the best shoot-em-ups in recent memory.
With all of the different plane models and bosses on screen, it never felt too cluttered nor did it ever slow down. The game runs as smooth as butter and looks incredible in the process.
Jet Lancer‘s one deduction is in its list price, which will set you back $14.99 USD. It is not a bad price, by any means, but the game does not take very long to beat and does not invite for a whole lot more replay once you are done. As you progress as well, you may even run into the problem of being too strong thanks to some overpowered loadouts. This can sour the ending experience a bit, especially for some more skilled players.
If you are a fan of shoot-em-ups, then this is absolutely worth the asking price, but if you are looking to try this out, maybe wait for a deal before diving in.
Jet Lancer Review provided by SwitchWatch.co.uk
Review also available on OpenCritic
Developer: Vladimir Fedyushkin, Nicolai Danielsen
Publisher: Armor Games Studios
Release Date: May 12, 2020
Price: $14.99, £13.49, €14.99
Game Size: 275 MB
Story - 9/10
Gameplay - 9/10
Audio - 10/10
Visuals & Performance - 9/10
Value - 7/10
Jet Lancer is a fantastic and unique shoot-em-up that will wow its audience with stellar gameplay and amazing boss fights. The soundtrack rocks, and the visuals are a beautiful site to see. Although the asking price may be a bit high, you are still getting one of the best shoot-em-ups out there, and I cannot recommend this enough.
- Stellar gameplay
- Amazing bosses
- Beautiful art
- Fantastic soundtrack
- Gameplay can get easy as you progress
- Price may be a bit high for new players in the genre