As opening gambits go, a caveman with a jetpack from outer space is a pretty solid tagline. So it is in Jet Kave Adventure, where you play the titular Kave as he explores his prehistoric world – which also has dinosaurs, by the way – in search of an alien who crash-landed near his village. It is from said alien that he acquires his mysterious jetpack, giving him a small boost to his jumping abilities and inexplicably allowing him to bust through sheer rock walls face first without encountering major head trauma. With Kave, players will have to navigate 2D platforming sequences, fighting dinosaurs and dodging environmental hazards, in the hopes of catching up to the extra-terrestrial visitor before they can trigger a volcanic eruption that would destroy Kave’s home.
At first glance, most players are going to notice that Jet Kave Adventure isn’t particularly original, in terms of both its design and its mechanics. Platforming is one of the oldest video game genres around and the general principle hasn’t really changed since the original Donkey Kong in 1981, but while this might seem like stagnation, there’s one very good reason for it: they’re really fun to play.
In that regard, Jet Kave Adventure nails it. The controls, while a little hard to get used to on PC and clearly better suited for a controller, are responsive and accurate, and the levels are both challenging and varied enough to keep the game engaging. In keeping with the style of the genre, gameplay is kept relatively simple, with clear, silent tutorials presented whenever a new mechanic is introduced. While it’s undoubtedly not going to be for everyone, if you have enjoyed other 2D platformers, then you are almost guaranteed to get something out of this experience.
Even without being revolutionary, the developers of Jet Kave Adventure have put in a substantial effort to make their game stand out, with particular attention to detail being paid to the variety of content. Alongside the standard platforming expected of this type of game, Jet Kave Adventure features chase sequences, boss battles, and gliding and flying sections, amongst others, and the range of content on offer helps to keep the game engaging long after you might expect it to wear out its welcome.
Extending its longevity further still is the inclusion of challenges and collectibles. These are available in each level and task players with completing the course within a set time, collecting certain items, or making it to the end without taking any damage. To help players with these challenges, Jet Kave Adventure features an upgrade tree of sorts, in the form of purchasable items that expand your inventory, your health bar, or your jetpack fuel. While the main game never strictly requires players to obtain such upgrades, they can certainly offer a helping hand once the difficulty starts to ramp up.
Setting aside the mechanics themselves, this game does have one truly standout feature: Jet Kave Adventure is beautiful. Each of the levels has its own location and environment and it’s clear throughout that a huge amount of effort has gone into making the game feel vibrant and alive, with spectacular results. The developers have crafted a series of stunning backdrops that make Kave’s world a genuine joy to explore and coupled with the cartoony art style used to craft player and enemy models, the game’s visuals are one of its greatest achievements.
Jet Kave Adventure is not perfect, of course. For one, the game is surprisingly short, made up of just 36 levels, each of which only takes a handful of minutes at most. This is somewhat mitigated by the inclusion of challenges and collectibles, but it does mean that players will be able to see everything the game has to offer within a few hours.
The most frustrating flaw to me was the music. As with other games in the genre, Jet Kave Adventure features a simple backing tune that plays over menus and at times during gameplay itself, which I initially enjoyed as an effort has clearly been made to make it fit with the prehistoric setting. However, after spending some time navigating the ‘world map’ menu in search of challenges and upgrades, it quickly becomes apparent that the main theme’s loop is extremely short and as a result, it starts to grate on your nerves very quickly. This isn’t a critical failing by any stretch, but if you’re trying to aim for 100% completion, you’re likely going to want to nudge that volume slider down.
Overall, Jet Kave Adventure isn’t going to surprise you, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good for a few hours of fun. If you like 2D platformers, or just want to look at some really impressive prehistoric environments for a nice lockdown-friendly change, you could certainly do worse than this.