Release Date: September 14
Platforms available on: Xbox Live Arcade
Price: 1200 Microsoft Points
Developer: Hello Games
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
The original Joe Danger was a welcome sight when it launched more than two years ago. From independent developer Hello Games, the side-scrolling title successfully mixed fun platform/racing action with a colourful, charming visual style. Joe Danger 2: The Movie doesn't deviate too much from the core gameplay, but some smart new additions make this a worthwhile sequel on Xbox Live Arcade.
The follow-up once again centres on daredevil stuntman Joe Danger, as he's tasked with performing outrageous stunts in vehicles in front of camera. The intuitive controls from the first game remain intact, though for newcomers it will take a few tries before mastering the multi-tasking required to rack up major points.
But what makes Joe Danger 2 stand out as a sequel is how it's put together on a grander and more ambitious scale. There's impressively far more variety to the surroundings and scenarios, from escaping massive rolling boulders in a mine cart to surviving dinosaurs in a prehistoric jungle. One set of levels has Joe dressed as a cop - halting criminals and picking up swag from a getaway vehicle - while another sees Joe rev up his snowmobile and put on skis to outrun avalanches, infiltrate robot bases and stopping missile launches.
Joe even gets his hands on a swanky jetpack from time to time, which handles differently to the regular vehicles, allowing for full directional and height control. This is a career that certainly maintains its freshness throughout.
Objectives are presented in a non-linear fashion, and the fact that virtually all of the levels have a good few to tackle encourages players to replay levels. Aside from level-specific goals (like destroying dinosaur eggs), common tasks include finding hidden special stars, picking up bananas, beating a set time and collecting 'DANGER' letters. There's no need to achieve everything on your first go - the game lets you progress to the next level when you get to the finish line as long as you've completed enough objectives along the way.
While the career is pretty lengthy, Joe Danger 2 also comes with a series of challenge levels titled 'Deleted Scenes'. These levels are generally wackier in concept such as riding unicycles and jetpacking and collecting hamburgers while dressed up as Elvis.
That said, a couple of improvements have been made to incentivise competition. Like the previous instalment, leaderboards return but also notable is the inclusion of ghosts. Replays are saved when completing a level, and the game seamlessly loads up ghosts of various players including friends and those at the top of the leaderboards.
The comprehensive and entertainingly accessible level editor returns in the sequel too, and local multiplayer has undergone a revamp, now somewhat resembling Trials Evolution. Four players compete head-to-head on the same screen, earning points through finishing quickest, performing stunts and staying alive and on the screen.
Joe Danger 2: The Movie is a very solid sequel that provides more of the same but delivers a more exciting package around the basic mechanics. Fans of the original will get a lot of enjoyment from it as a result - and could still be potentially playing the game weeks later - but it also means that there is little in here to change the minds of people who weren't fond of Joe's escapades the first time around.