This Hero Is A Zero
HIGH The robot is super adorbs.
LOW There’s no real gameplay here.
WTF So I guess it just goes on for infinity, then?
Jettomero: Hero of the Universe is a perfect example of a great idea that doesn’t deliver on its potential – it could have been a charming, touching experience, but instead ends up an insubstantial slip of a game, quickly forgotten.
Things start promisingly enough. The player controls a giant red robot who is equal parts awkward and adorable. He doesn’t know anything about himself once he gains consciousness, so he sets off on a quest to figure out his place in the universe.
Here’s the ‘gameplay’ loop: The robot flies through space and selects a nearby planet to explore. These planets are small, easily circled in a few seconds. He stumbles around and inadvertently crushes any small civilizations that happen to be there while searching for fuel crystals to enable the next flight and new parts which have no effect other than cosmetic.
Every third or fourth planet, the robot runs into a giant tokosatsu-style monster (think Godzilla or Ultraman) and they engage in a quick-time event of dueling eyebeams. The battles are quite easy and short, and once the monster’s defeated, Jettomero has a mental short circuit and unlocks a bit of backstory.
This backstory is a paragraph of text with the letters switched around, and the player rearranges them to unscramble the message. Once Jetto gets this bit of lore, he heads back into space to repeat the cycle… And that’s it.
While I love the aesthetics and Jettomero is the kind of character that I want to root for, there’s just not enough substance to this game.
When walking around on the planets, there’s nothing at all to do. Any people living on the planet will attack the robot, but they can’t hurt him, and he has no means of interacting with them. There are no conversations, no quests to take on, and no small tasks to complete.
There’s no variety or skill in fighting the monsters, it’s all just repeats of the same simple battle with the monster looking slightly differently each time. While the backstory is actually full of potential to be a touching tale, there’s not much to it – just like every other aspect of this project.
After a few cycles of the same play loop, I started to get bored and wondered where the rest of the experience was, but there just isn’t anything else. I collected all the parts, defeated all the monsters, and then was presented with one choice. I made that choice, and then the game apparently continues on forever. There was no satisfactory ending, no further story or events to witness… Just nothing.
The art design is great and the concept of a robot searching for the meaning of its life is appealing, but the simple fact is that Jettomero: Hero of the Universe feels like the barest beginning of a project that somehow got kicked out onto the Microsoft store and put on sale a year before it was ready. It needs more sophistication, more mechanics, more things to do… more everything.
In its current state, it’s about 15 minutes’ worth of gameplay stretched out into a bland, lifeless four hours, and it faux-finishes with a blank stare when the content runs out. I hate to see something so promising get rushed out the door when it is so clearly not ready for prime time, but it is what it is. And it’s a shame.
Disclosures: This game is developed by Ghost Time Games and published by Beefjack. It is currently available on XBO and PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the XBO. Approximately 4 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed. At least, I guess it was completed? Apparently it keeps going forever. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated T and contains Violence. This stuff is totally harmless – it’s just a robot walking around on small planets and occasionally poofing a rubbery monster into smoke. Not much else to it.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: All dialogue is relayed via text and there are no significant auditory cues. It’s fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: No, this game’s controls are not remappable.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available in the options.