Joe Danger Special Edition review for XBLA

Platform: XBLA
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Developer: Hello Games
Medium: Digital Download
Players: 1-2
Online: Multiplayer, Leaderboards

After debuting last spring as a PlayStation Network exclusive, Joe Danger makes his Xbox Live Arcade appearance in Joe Danger Special Edition and boy is it ever a welcome one! Fans of Trials HD, Excitebike, Mario Kart, or just plain fun games will soon come to appreciate just what makes Joe Danger so special. Developed by a small independent team by the name of Hello Games, Joe Danger not only brings fun to your console at a mere 15 dollars, but with a wealth of content that could have easily been brought to disc form and worth every penny of a 30 to 40 dollar price tag.

At first glance the game?s cartoony ramp jumping, trick making, dirt bike racing style looks like an Excitebike for the new generation. This is a compliment to say the least, but Joe Danger goes way beyond racing and jumping, as it mixes in combos, tricks goals, and so much more that it will take you a good 10 hours just to see it all once; And that is without going for the gold medals and high leaderboard scores. The cartoon-like art style and special effects really bring a ton of personality to the game that will make you grin ear to ear whether you are winning or getting serious road rash.

The story is as follows – you are Joe Danger, a veteran stuntman who is vying for a comeback. The news has hit all the papers and the whole world is watching as you continue your quest of finally being the world?s greatest stuntman. While you won?t have a Taco fighting a Grilled Cheese sandwich like in Hot Rod the Movie, you can expect lots of thrills and spills along the way.

So what can gamers who have already felt the love found in the PSN version months ago expect if they purchase it on XBLA to make it worth the extra moolah? Beyond the career mode that will have you performing in over 50 events, creating your own levels in Sandbox mode, playing online head to head for recognition, or challenging other?s scores on the leaderboards and unlocking Achievements, the special comes in the form of a new Lab mode. This new mode allows you to participate in 50 new levels that are not only more challenging than those in the career mode, but are more bizarre, diverse, and will really test your skills as a serious stuntman.

What makes Joe Danger so welcome to all audiences is the game?s enjoyable pick up and play style that is still fulfilling and challenging enough to make even gamers who are Trials HD experts fight hard for those high scores. It?s all about timing, skill, and a little bit of luck if you want to be the best of the best as it is not always about how fast you finish, but how you finish. Some medals require a bit of strategy and collection that has nothing to do with setting the fastest time, but instead require you to find all the stars on a level, hit all the targets, and more that will test your coordination skills and noodle as well.

But don?t just take my word for it; Joe Danger Special Edition is something that needs to be experienced not talked about. The beauty of XBLA is you can try it for yourself, but beware; you might want to ensure you have 1200 points handy as I?m certain you will be buying the game shortly after completing the demo. If you haven?t had the pleasure of playing Joe the first time around, then this game is a no brainer as a purchase. If you have already played it, I still say buy it, as the Lab mode is basically another version of the game?s original career mode, but twice as hard. Of course, in the end, the verdict is to buy it, and it doesn?t hurt that you?ll be supporting a small, dedicated, independent studio such as Hello Games. So do the gaming world and yourself a favor and pick this up for yourself. I for one have both versions, and it hasn?t grown old on me yet, and I?m sure it won?t on you either.

Grade: A