Waiting for Explosions…
Clones of old games (and sometimes even newer ones) are a given this day and age. With so many games out there, there’s bound to be imitations whether intentional or not. Explosive Jake is a VERY much intentional Bomberman clone. BUT, is it a good Bomberman clone? Not really…
First off, there’s essentially NO story whatsoever. You start the first level locked in a cell with another skeleton (who’s in a wooden box for some reason) who tells you that if you want to escape, you just have to press this button and the cell door opens. Apparently, the living think you’re too stupid to figure this out. Also, there is a key in one of the boxes and there is a door hidden somewhere as well. And… that’s it.
Stages are pretty standard
Boxes for you to blow up, enemies to avoid (or blow up), and a couple of traps. Blow up the boxes to find the key and the door and go on to the next stage. There’s not much in the way of variety. Power-ups are nothing more than an extra bit of health and an extra bomb every so often. No different types of bombs, bigger bomb area of effect, kick or throw function, nothing. It’s a very bare-bones clone.
The waiting is a big part of what kills this game. You have to wait for the bomb to explode, which feels like it takes forever, and you don’t get a second bomb until 5 levels in. And even then, it still feels like you’re constantly waiting for the bombs to go off. This really makes the game drag as you have to destroy several boxes to find the key and the exit door.
I really dig the retro aesthetic of the levels
… but here’s almost no variety in the level design. There are 40 levels total, but they kind of just blend together. It’s just the same thing over and over again. There’s nothing to look forward to. There are no checkpoints throughout the entire game, so if you die, you start back from the beginning of the stage. This is one of the biggest complaints I have. It’s already kind of a chore getting through the levels, but to have to start completely over any time you make the slightest mistake is a HUGE drag.
This may be me nitpicking, but the feedback (or lack thereof) is also a big issue for me. Whenever you choose an option, whether it be exiting a level or choosing another level, there is no confirmation. The game just freezes on the screen you’re on until it loads the next screen. So, oftentimes, you’re left wondering if you’ve even made the selection in the first place.
While I really like the retro-inspired graphics, the character designs, and the music in Explosive Jake, everything else just works against it. While I really wanted to enjoy this game, no variety in the levels and the gameplay make it such a drag to play. And that would be the best way to describe Explosive Jake: a drag.
Review code provided
Platform: Steam, Nintendo
Release Date: 18/03/2020
No. of Players: 1
Category: Arcade, Puzzle
Developer: Pigeon Dev
Publisher: Sometimes You
Download link: eShop