Johnny Rocket is a 2D comic platformer by HEDE and KG Studio and published by Restless Corp Game Studio. It has an animated look of early internet flash days, and it is simply a tough and weird experience from start to finish.
But how does Johnny Rocket play, and is it worth your time and money? Well, that is what we are going to find out today!
NOTE: As of the time of this review, Johnny Rocket is only available in UK and Europe. We will update when it is available in the North American eShop.
Johnny Rocket is an action platformer that is about helping the titular hero to take on the “Evil Forces”, AKA the Nazis, and save his friend. There is not a whole lot more to the story than that, as the game is only 3 chapters long and can be cleared quickly in about 30 minutes or less.
Johnny is quite the acrobat as well, as he is equipped with a jetpack that allows him to perform an awkward double-jump as he headbutts and shoots his way through this strange Nazi regime. There are soldiers, aliens, bears, dogs, penguins, and robots trying to stop you from getting to their deranged leader, Adolph. This is definitely an army to take seriously, because death lingers around every corner.
When I say death lingers around every corner, I mean it, too. This game is hard as nails, and often times not for the right reason. Bullets fly on screen from enemies you cannot even see frequently, and there is no invulnerability time between hits, which means a machine gun can drain your entire health in seconds if you don’t dodge or jump out of the way instantly.
This is honestly an incredibly awkward platformer, and although it is a fun little ride through the amusing cartoons and animation, the gameplay is pretty bad. I died so many times from things I did not know I could even die from, and avoiding certain enemies feels genuinely impossible. Thankfully the stages are sprinkled with cans of health and checkpoints, because I honestly cannot believe you can make it from the beginning of a stage to the end without getting hit.
The difficulty is the greatest problem in the game, because it is not hard in a challenging way, but is so in an annoying and frustrating way. Often times I found myself speedrunning through areas, not even bothering with killing, because getting to the checkpoint as fast as I could seemed more productive than taking my time and clearing the path ahead.
But there is one section in the game that I absolutely love, and it is the airplane section. It reminded me so much of the airplane stage in Super Mario Land, and it is properly fun. Before this section, I was not enjoying myself, but as soon as I got in the plane, I was smiling and enjoying the nostalgic and genuinely fun feel of an area I didn’t expect. Sadly, it doesn’t last too long, and we are back on the ground dealing with some more garbage enemy combat.
There is a boss fight at the end of each chapter, and I honestly do not have a whole lot of positive things to say about the bosses. The first two robot bosses were painful to fight and didn’t make any sense as to what was the best strategy. Somehow the second boss is easier than the first one, because you can literally hang out in the corner and somehow avoid all of his bullets.
The final boss (SPOILER ALERT: It’s Hitler with an “enhancement”) is definitely more enjoyable than the previous two bosses, but that is not saying a whole lot.
I wish Johnny Rocket mixed things up a little bit more, because the only time the game felt experimental is when I actually enjoyed it the most. Too much dependence on gameplay that doesn’t work hurts the experience, which is quite unfortunate.
Overall, Johnny Rocket is a funny and cutely animated little game, albeit quite immature in its comedy, that suffers greatly from poor combat and inconsistent and sometimes unfair platforming. For the price, this is a decent experience, but your money could be better spent elsewhere. Hopefully if they continue the series, we can see a better emphasis on gameplay that matches the quality of the animation. Also, please include more airplane segments. That was genuinely awesome!
Johnny Rocket Review provided by NintendoLink
Review also available on OpenCritic
Publisher: Restless Corp Game Studio
Developer: HEDE, KG Studio
Release Date: October 15, 2020
Price: £3.79, €4.21
Game Size: 322 MB
Cute and fun animation
Genuinely fun airplane section
What's Your Reaction?
My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.