Title: Explosive Jake
Genre: Puzzle Arcade
Platform: PS4, PS Vita
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 18/03/2020
Price: £3.99 – Rapid Reviews was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
Here we have Explosive Jake developed & published by PigeonDev; a simple game that uses the classic Bomberman approach but brings us Jake instead. Your role is to help Jake, a trapped skeleton, bomb his way out of these dark dungeons filled with knights, ghosts and zombies, without blowing himself up.
Anyone familiar with the Bomberman game style will already know what is coming their way. You need to drop bombs to clear boxes and enemies across 40 levels. There are no bosses or real difficulty spikes to manage. Each level will take 2 to 5 minutes so you can clear through the game in about 2 hours. Easy Platinum? Check.
You are treated to a cool 8/16-bit art style through out; it will really take you back to those classic arcade looking games. The game even looks like you are playing on an old arcade screen. However, you need to embrace the retro look of this game and appreciate the ’80s feel to it. A lack of any real dialogue does make it hard to get attached to Jake though. A cute enough design could have been boosted by a little heart felt narrative.
Unfortunately, there is not much variation between the 40 grid design levels apart from the number of boxes & enemies you need to destroy. I never felt worried by the levels, only my poor planning when dropping a bomb. The main challenge though is trying to find which boxes are hiding the key and door to get out.
Gameplay is pretty simple, so simple that it doesn’t require a tutorial and you are just thrown into level 1. X drops a bomb, and you just need to blow up boxes to find a key & a door while trying to kill some enemies. Only being able to drop 1 bomb early on does mean the game is slow to gain some pace. There are also no checkpoints, so die in a level and you are back at the beginning, or in my case, forgetting triangle resets the level.
Once you get your bomb timing right you can easily clear the level of enemies. They all follow a set path so once you know that, it is just down to bomb placement timing. It’s also possible to completely ignore most of the enemies and just clear boxes until you find the way out. Considering the game gives you a trophy for each level completed, it is likely most will just want to complete the game as quickly as possible.
You can pick up some powerups in the levels such as a shield to help you get through, but nothing that really changes the game. You can start to drop multiple bombs as you progress through the later levels which does help speed gameplay up a bit. Apart from that you are pretty much the same Jake throughout the game.
For £3.99 you get a good couple of hours of old school arcade Bomberman fun. No, it isn’t as good as the original game and there isn’t much variation as you work through 40 levels. Yet it was a fun Vita playing experience, and something to play through in-between games that are more demanding.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Explosive Jake from the PS Store
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.