One of the great joys in life is getting to the end of the Kevin Costner film The Postman. The post-apocalyptic film is a rather long one, and while it has some great ideas, the idea of rebuilding an entire society and country because the post will always be delivered is one of the most stunning concepts to be made into an "action" film ever. I get the feeling that the arcade game JetEx has enough momentum to fall into that same bucket. You get to the end of the level and you will feel you've accomplished something. And there are 101 levels to get that feeling.
Version Reviewed: 1.00 (0)
JetEx is a simple game - get the parcel from the start of the level and deliver it to the end. You have your delivery truck (with the accelerator pedal handily stuck to the floor so you're always moving forwards, and the game is a nice side scroller because of that), and the terrain is laid out in front of you. I say terrain, it's more a lot of platforms with huge gaps to fall through and die between them.
How to get over these gaps? Well you've got a great big rocket engine strapped to the chassis of the truck, and it's pointing directly down. Slam open the valves, let the fuel flow, and up you go. Mind you, there's not a lot of fuel, so you'll be tracing graceful arcs in the air as you hop from platform to platform, trusting the huge suspension on the truck axles to bounce you safely on to the flat driveways once more.
What you don't have, rather annoyingly, is any form of strap or rope to tie the parcel to the back of the delivery truck. With it being an open deck at the rear, the parcel slides around and threatens to hop out with every ill-timed bump and disturbance. It's not enough to get to the end of the level, you need to get there with your parcel still on the truck.
Guess how much fuel you have? Just enough in the first levels, and for later levels you're going to need to plan your routes and use the fuel wisely, because you're going to end up running out of the stuff and not make that last platform. And this is where JetEx really comes into its own. Not only does it play wonderfully smoothly, with some cracking physics allowing you to momentarily blip the engine to make a tiny skip or go for a long burn to get some height (all just by touching the screen), but there are times you just need to scrabble around on the edge of a platform and let the four wheel drive pull you onto a platform to save a few drops of fuel to make the end.
It's delightfully wicked. It's easy to praise smooth animation code, but when you get a level design that's as accurate as on show here, looking for finesse on some levels and brute force on others, well, that deserves acknowledgement as well.
With 101 levels, there's a lot to be going on with. And when you do end the game, you can either head back to the start and try to earn a star on every level by saving fuel (i.e. don't run dry), or head over to Jeti's page on the Nokia Store to discover a bundle of variants around the core gameplay. That's in the future though, for now just enjoy JetEx, because it's a great concept and deserves to be played. Just get the mail through!
-- Ewan Spence, Oct 2011.
PS: I actually quite like The Postman.
Reviewed by Ewan Spence at