Jets n’ Guns Gold is the only shoot em up title I’ve ever completed, and with good reason. Developer Rake in Grass designed one with a unique aesthetic, sense of humor, and scalable difficulty. This game is far more friendly to genre newbies than most on the market, yet can definitely still provide a challenge to masochistic bullet hell aficionados. If you possesses even the slightest shred of interest in videogames featuring tiny ships and immense chaos, Jets n’ Guns Gold undoubtedly deserves a spot in your digital library.

The story is marginally unimportant, though exists if you desire it. In the distant future, ex-military pilots have a popular habit of becoming mercenaries called “Federal Heroes”. You are one such freelancer who gets entangled with an old commanding officer turned rogue, bent on helping an evil dictator take control of a weapon capable of annihilating the universe. Narrative is chopped up and told through stylish comic book panels between cutscenes, though reading mountains of text wore eventually wore on me. What redeemed the writing was the clear emphasis on bizarre humor. There are levels that screen ads for erectile dysfunction and strange enemy variants like putrid feet mounted on rockets and inebriated mechanical cubes. Every stage has something neat to gawk at or keel over laughing about. Creativity is abundant from beginning to end, and gamers of all types will certainly appreciate it.

This ingenuity extends to the refreshing art direction, which separates Jets n’ Guns from other shoot em ups that tend to blindly adopt a bland Japanese style. The only items I could compare the visuals too are early DOS games like Fallout or Clay Fighters for the Super Nintendo. For lack of a better description, the game almost looks “clay-mated”. I found it actually gives Jets n’ Guns a sort of timeless quality and melds perfectly with the portrayed comedy. The only issue I found with the graphics is that the resolution doesn’t exceed 800 x 600 pixels, which means a lot of the interface can be blurry on larger displays. However, I was too busy having fun to worry about occasionally squinting at my HUD.

Fun is a very broad term, though little else can describe the experience of playing Jets n Guns Gold. Gameplay eschews the traditional top-down perspective of most arcade shooters in favor of a standard horizontal plane with left to right movement. Before each level, you can customize your ship with various weapons and upgrades, then test it out in a debris field. Anything players purchase can be exchanged to the vendor for a full refund, meaning you can tailor loadouts exactly to your liking. As the game can be quite difficult, it isn’t uncommon for players to abandon levels and tweak their weapons to best suit the mission parameters. This layer of strategy keeps things fresh and gives players a degree of control over their vessel that is absent in most shoot em ups. Trial and error learning, along with equipment management are necessary to overcome challenges, with the satisfaction of succeeding always making the effort well worth it. My only gripe with the otherwise brilliant design is that Rake in Grass experiments with varying mission types, but they are always superficial. There is a brief escort section here, or a sequence where you need to collect data from destroyed targets, which are entertaining but never fleshed out. Hopefully Jets n Guns 2 will toy with these and other neat ideas in meaningful ways.

Review: Jets n' Guns Gold
Jets n Guns Gold is a gateway drug for those who have never beaten a shoot em up. Playing it on easy, I squeezed seven hours out of the campaign. I left behind a wealth of secret levels and pick-ups, and now I can't wait to play new game plus.
  • Unique Visual Style
  • Challenging for any skill level
  • Great sense of humor
  • Story needs better presentation
9Overall Score
Reader Rating: (6 Votes)
  • TrollyPolly

    I love this game!