Jaggy Race Review

2014-10-02-091225

 

Title: Jaggy Race
Developer: Tiziano Bizzini
Game Type: PlayStation Mobile
Download:  148 MB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download, Direct Download
EU Availability: Digital Download, Direct Download

Racing games are a genre that the Vita definitely needs more of.  If you take a look at the genre, the Vita doesn’t have a massive amount of games available to it.  The notable games are Need for Speed: Most Wanted and Wipeout 2048.  Both of these are not recent, though.  There’s also Tabletop Racing, but there isn’t a lot of variety there with the Vita library.

However, there are other venues you can look through.  The PSP and PS1 libraries do have some driving games available.  Games like Gran Turismo PSP among others.  Those are not new games, though.  If you are looking for new driving/racing games for the Vita, you’ll need to look towards the PlayStation Mobile store.  It doesn’t have much, but it does have a newly-released game that also came to Mobile.

This game is not a traditional racer, but it does provide some fun for people who are into racing games.  Developed by a small group and also releasing on iOS, there is a unique side-scrolling racer available on the Vita.  Having been requested by the developer, themselves, here is our official review of Jaggy Racing!

Story

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With this game being gameplay-oriented, there is no story to speak of in the game.  You could try to assume some sort of story by playing the game.  However, there is no story.  As soon as you boot up the game, you just go at it in races.  There is no explanation why you’re racing or any character development for the various playable characters and their Karts.  You just go at it.

If you’re looking for a game with story, this is definitely not the game for you.  Although that has been a trend with many Arcade-like racers.  Story is normally at a minimum, though Jaggy Race has no story at all.

Gameplay

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Jaggy Race is a racing/driving game, but it isn’t a traditional racer.  When you think of a racer, you probably will think of Gran Turismo or Need for Speed.  In Jaggy Race, you won’t be racing through a track with other players.  This is a different kind of experience.  Jaggy Race is a single-player Kart Driving game that has you traversing platforms and traps throughout each track to get through the track with as few mistakes as possible.  It’s also in more of a side-scrolling perspective, so it’s not your average driving game, in the least bit.

When you go into each race in this game, you will be in a side-scrolling environment and your task will be to navigate various platforms and environments as you work your way to the finish line.  As you go through, there are several different kinds of traps and maintaining proper speeds and timing jumps appropriately will help you reach the end without having to re-spawn at checkpoints.  The side-scrolling style of the game is comparable to games like Sonic Rivals.

Your goal in each race is to be able to navigate the track in the least amount of time possible.  You will not only be traversing traps but also moving on different platforms which will require you to change directions you’re moving on-the-fly.  Navigating these quickly will get you a higher rank.  The faster you complete, the better chance you have of getting a 3-star rating, as opposed to 1 or 2 stars.  There are also sheep in each stage that you can jump and run into for a score for sheep as well.  Getting high scores on the stages in each section will enable you to unlock the bonus stage of that section.

Clearing the races takes memory and reaction time.  Some of the tracks in the latter half of the game have traps everywhere.  As the tracks get longer, getting high scores will require you to remember where the traps are and what to do and when.  There is a big focus on reaction time and being able to time jumping, braking, and more.  There is a fair amount of challenge in this regard, though the game isn’t one that will make you throw your Vita into the wall.

The game has six different environments and five main races for each area.  Tying that with a bonus race for each section, the game has a total of 36 different races for you to take part in.  There are also several different Karts and playable characters to unlock as you play through the game.  With each race normally taking 1 minute or less to complete and giving some room for retries, the game isn’t an incredibly long one.  If you do it in one sitting, you can probably clear the game in 1-2 hours, depending on how easy it is for you to remember each of the tracks.

Controls

Controlling this game is very simple.  Essentially being a side-scroller, Jaggy Race will not require the use of all of the buttons of the system at once.  In fact, you’ll only be using about half of the buttons.  There are some touch controls, but that is strictly in the game’s menus.  Actual races use button controls, as opposed to touch controls on the Mobile versions of the game.

The menu controls will be done with the touch screen or the D-Pad and Face Buttons.  The Analog Sticks aren’t used for anything.  Navigating to the next sections of the menu is done with the Left and Right D-Pad buttons.  You can also select options with X and cancel with Circle.  There are also features with the Square and Triangle buttons, normally for viewing race menus and restarted races.

When you’re in races, your direction for the throttle and slowing down are done with the left and right D-Pad buttons.  This must be done with the D-Pad as you play the game.  You can also jump with the X button and use the Emergency Brake with the Circle button.  You can pause with the Start button and then use Square to return to the menu or Triangle to restart the race.

All in all, the controls are pretty easy to remember, and the menu controls are shown to you on-screen, so you will never have to memorize them.

Presentation

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Presentation is where the game shines the most in this review.  Visually, the game looks pretty crisp for a game with 3D visuals.  The racers as well as the environments look good, but not perfect.  If you look closely, you can definitely see some jagged edges here and there.  Other than that, though, the visual presentation is colorful and fluent.  It’s one of the better-looking 3D PlayStation Mobile games.

To add to this, we should talk about how it plays.  When you first boot the game, you will get the standard 10-15 second bootup time that PlayStation Mobile is known for.  After this, though, the game runs very well.  The load times between menu screens are nearly instant with little to no waiting at all.  Loading races takes time, but you’ll only be waiting 1-2 seconds for these screens to load.  This level of loading is pretty impressive for a PSM game.

The gameplay also runs very smooth.  When you look at how the races flow or even how the menus flow together, the game runs at a pretty solid 60 frames per second.  This is also pretty impressive for a PSM game.  This is the first game of this type with 3D visuals we’ve played that runs so well and smooth.  The developers should be congratulated for how well the game runs.

Summary

Jaggy Race is a unique game, offering driving fans a side-scrolling game for quick play sessions.  On the downside, you’re paying $7 for only a couple hours of content.  However, with the challenge that the game offers and the fact that the game is one of the most impressively-optimized games on PlayStation Mobile, those looking for pick-up-and-play driving action should look into this.

8/10

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