If you’ve read many of my prior articles, you’re probably aware that I’m a pretty solid fan of the retro-style arcade genre. I love the classic side-scrolling, bullet-filled madness of it all, weaving between wave after wave of enemies and firing blindly into the mass of them is one of my favourite ways to pass my video-gaming time. And I’m happy to report that Jets ‘n’ Guns Gold from Rake In Grass Software completely satisfies this — and then piles some extra lovin’ on top to help make it shine, polishing it all of with brutal difficulty and well-executed humour to really stretch for the home run.
First, let’s talk about that name: Jets ‘n’ Guns Gold. It’s beautifully simple, to the point, and unmistakable. Now, since a lot of the game takes place in space, I’m not really sure about the Jets part, entirely, but I’ll forgive it; Spaceships ‘n’ Guns just doesn’t have the same flow. Besides, there are plenty of enemies that appear to be more-traditionally styled as jets, so it’s not entirely a lie, either. However you slice it, I’m a fan of the up-front nature of it, and the simplistic descriptiveness of it. It’s a name that leaves you with no doubt as to the nature of the game. I like that kind of honesty in my gaming.
So, what does Jets ‘n’ Guns do well, aside from honesty? Frankly, a lot. Your highly-upgradable ships offer a plethora of playstyles, the graphics are crisp, and damn near everything in your path is destroyable. That last one really gets me; I love destructible environments, and I don’t think I’ve played a game in this genre that offered them up so freely. Many of the obstacles, platforms, and even buildings supporting enemies can be obliterated, all offering cash rewards as you blast through them, encouraging you to scourge the landscape as best you can. The enemies span from sweeping aerial fighters, grounded heavy weapons, and some pretty bizarre level-specific creations that keep you wondering about what lies ahead as you tackle each new mission.
Now, let’s get down to brass tacks here. A game can be fun while maintaining simplicity, sure, but if the price tag outweighs the enjoyability, then we run into some issues. Fortunately for us, Jets ‘n’ Guns Gold asks for a meager $6.99 via Steam — and that’s not a sale price! That’s a fantastic bargain in my eyes. I’ve easily paid two or three times that amount for worse games, and still been relatively satisfied with my purchases at the end of the day. While there’s not a ton of variety nor a compelling story, you definitely get what’s advertised by the game’s phenomenal name. Throw in the fact that the unforgiving nature of the game will leave you battered and begging for more, and I feel entirely comfortable throwing this title out as a must-own for fans of the genre, and certainly worth a look for those who are on the fence.
[+Just as advertised] [+Simple yet satisfying gameplay] [+Fantastic ship customization] [+Good graphic and sound design] [-Weak story] [-Unrelenting difficulty may turn players away]