Today, I discovered that I am actually horrible at saving the world, especially when I’m a ridiculously clumsy giant robot. But, hey, can’t win them all.
Jettomero: Hero of the Universe is a third-person exploration-adventure game where you play as aforementioned clumsy giant robot Jettomero. Ghost Time Games have created many beautiful environments to roam with artistic aesthetics and a relaxing soundtrack, and what good fun it is! You wake up stranded on a tiny little moon, with no idea who you are, where you are, or what it is you’re actually supposed to be doing. But never fear! You soon work it out thanks to the game’s tutorials, and you head out on your way to explore nearby planets.
At first it almost seems like a miniature version of No Man’s Sky with a lot more story behind it. When you first land on a new planet, Jettomero realises it is populated and reminds you to “watch your step”… which is difficult once you learn how to move. Using WASD controls is not necessarily hard, but something that makes Jettomero‘s gameplay unique is that walking is difficult. You’d never believe it. You are very clumsy and unstable on your feet, resulting in a lack of grace and you certainly shouldn’t expect to be able to turn around at a rapid pace. But it doesn’t take away from the gameplay or the story; rather, it adds to it, giving a unique aspect that makes you carefully consider exactly where you step.
Every time you land on a planet, you find little yellow diamonds floating around in the air and what appear to be antennae poking out of the ground. These are both items of interest, although only the little yellow diamond is necessary towards the game’s completion: they are fuel cells. You need these to launch yourself, using the boosters on the bottom of your feet, from the planet. The antennae are body parts, which you can use to customise Jettomero and make him look however you please.
I made him look like a nightmare.
Sometimes these diamonds and antennae appear in the worst places. Like right in the middle of civilisation which you are supposed to be trying to not destroy. But like I said earlier, you can’t win them all. I personally tried to minimise my destruction at the beginning, but as the game went on I found it more and more difficult to do, especially with everything shooting missiles at me and trying to harpoon me to the ground.
I may or may not have yelled a lot. It’s one of the sorer points of my gameplay experience.
As you progress through the game’s story, you encounter monsters as gargantuan as you are. Your first encounter with one of these monsters is shocking enough, although you do learn that you can shoot freaking laser beams out of your eyeballs. That’s enough to sell me any day.
The battle system, while fitting with the game, is a bit iffy. It’s a quick-time system in which you have to type in a sequence of letters (and periods), but if you’re not quick enough you cop a laser to the face. My first few battles with this system went well despite me not being good at quick-time. I was unaware the character was indestructible at that point, and I did not discover this until much later, after my first battle with a monster.
I flew into the sun. Go figure.
This battle system was fairly simplistic and easy to use, but one bad thing about it is that as you progress it gets more difficult, and in my opinion the time runs down far too quickly. It would work much better with a console controller than a keyboard. The good thing about this is that you can change the battle difficulty from ‘involved’ – which is what I started on, with timed sequences – to ‘basic’, featuring an untimed sequence that only has three commands to put in. The ‘involved’ command sequences could have up to five.
After the first battle, you get a ‘headache’ and you are prompted to decrypt a message. You can choose to skip this, or to complete it. Completing it unlocks backstory.
These messages are easy to solve: there are a number of dials – called ciphers – at the bottom of the screen. Pressing the Up and Down keys changes which cipher you have selected, while pressing the Left and Right keys (or A and D) turns the cipher you’re currently on. Pressing E will allow you to ‘test’ the cipher, and if it’s correct, the cipher will turn black and move no more.
Once you complete the decryption, a comic-styled segment of backstory is revealed to you. This prompts you to declare you will save the human race, and you continue on your planet-hopping-monster-defeating journey. But as you do, you discover the monsters were made by humans when you were deemed too dangerous. You begin to doubt yourself, and eventually you are prompted to choose: do you want to continue trying to save the humans, or do you want to give up?
I chose to continue to try to help the humans.
This culminates in you encountering copies of yourself. I was baffled when I first saw them but realised something was wrong, and continued on my merry way… until it began to seem I was stuck in an infinite loop of ‘go to planets, kill robot clone, leave planets, go through wormhole, start cycle again’.
This is where it began to get repetitive, and I began to get a little bored. I followed my radar to where it took me, although I began to notice the presence of a wormhole that should never have been there. It did not occur to me to fly towards it, however, until my fourth time stuck in a seemingly never-ending loop.
When I did decide to finally break the cycle, I ended up on a small lone planet. This single planet is filled with docile copies of you. After some exploring (and some questioning from a little eyeball robot you believed to be your friend) you come to a realisation: the red lumps on the planet are weak points and you have to destroy them to save the human race. So you waddle over and destroy them one by painful one, until finally the planet begins to self-destruct.
You discover the truth then and there: your accidental destructive nature had been replicated by the aliens trying to annihilate humanity. But it backfired on them, because there was one thing they had not counted on: you are the original. Despite your abandonment by humans, despite them trying to destroy the AI within you, you survived. And you have something that nobody counted on, that you developed yourself: emotions.
Jettomero is a game that I now recommend to everyone and anyone. It’s beautifully rendered with a soundtrack that matches the art style perfectly and gives an ambient, almost ethereal quality to the game. The clumsiness of Jettomero, coupled with his attitude towards humans and destruction, gives the player a loveable character reminiscent of the Iron Giant. What I disliked was the eventual lack of guidance, and the repetition that began to make itself apparent after only a short time. Very No Man’s Sky-ish.
With that being said, all round this is a gorgeous game that is worth playing more than once. I can’t recommend it enough.
- THE GOOD
- Ambient soundtrack
- Great art style
- Loveable character
- Surprisingly strong storyline
- THE BAD
- Quick-time timers were slightly too fast
- Ended up getting a little repetitive
A must-have indie game featuring giant robots, monsters, and an intriguing story.