Back in June we covered a great little game called Pro Gymnast Simulator. It took me by surprised as it combined fantastic physics-based gymnastic puzzles with a great sense of fun and silliness.
Needless to say when the same developer announced that their latest title, JellyCar Worlds, would be coming to the Switch and also focus on physics-based silliness, I was all in.
Many thanks to Walaber Entertainment for the review code.
I DON’T THINK YOU’RE READY FOR THIS JELLY
Apparently a sequel to a game that came out around ten years ago (for a game I’d never heard of), JellyCar Worlds has you chasing down a dastardly target with the hope of… well,… hitting it. The game does feature some kind of cute narrative to drive the plot along, but it’s mainly just antics reminsicent of the classic Roadrunner cartoons where your literal target remains forever out of reach from the JellyCar and all his gadgets.
Speaking of the JellyCar, one thing you’ll probably notice are the customisation options from the main menu. The game features an array of unlockable bodies, wheels, antenna and the like to pimp your ride to how you see fit. Most of these are unlockable via a multitude of methods, but you can create your own car designs should you have the artistic skills to do so. Whilst I merely opted for some of the ones available within the game, it’s nice to see such a great level of customisation.
This personalisation even extends as far as to the noises the car makes, with three sets of sound files for you to choose from: there’s the classic sound pack from the original game, a modern reworking of the original sounds, and ones recorded by the developer’s daughter. Regardless of which you choose, it ultimately boils down to someone making car noises with their mouth and will no doubt start to grate on most after a while. I personally grew irritated of the default one pretty quickly, but I did find the one recorded by his daughter to be rather charming.
The general idea of JellyCar Worlds is that you control a car made of gelatine around a world that also appears to be made of gelatine solving various physics puzzles to reach the goal. There are technically eight hub worlds in total (more on that later…) and each one focuses on a particular gimmick throughout the eight stages within. Only six of the eight stages need to be beaten in order to progress to the next world, but sometimes the hub contains a barrier that requires the completion of a certain level in order to proceed.
Puzzles themselves tend to be more of the platforming variety, with levels requiring you to traverse over platforms and through obstacles to get to the end. Moving wheels will squeeze you through and pop you out the other side, whereas floppy platforms and balls can be knocked over to make makeshift bridges. It’s a fun concept and seeing everything wobble is extremely charming.
Whilst that charm does start to wear out in the later half of the first world, the game reveals it’s true hand: the special abilities. At the end of each hub world, you’ll gain access to a new skill that you can use. Your first skill allows you to grow in size, which allows you to cross gaps you couldn’t before, or even allow yourself to get trapped within moving platforms so you can be transported elsewhere. Later ones allow you to float, grapple, stick to walls, and so on. There’s a range of skills on offer, and the subsequent worlds not only focus on your latest one but also combine it with previosly obtained ones to pull off some pretty impressive maneouvres.
These skills require pick-ups to enable, and even then can only be active for a short time (no doubt to prevent unintentonal sequence breaks), but the usage is just enough to feel satisfying. I never tied of obtain new items and messing around to see what I could do with them.
… but then the game just basically ends. After obtaining one final item at the end of world 6, as per usual, you’re sent straight back to the menu with the only option being to replay any levels you’ve missed and attempt the challenges. There is a world 7 and 8, but those are infuriatingly left behind a ‘coming soon’ marker that goads you with the final chunk of the game that just seemingly hasn’t been made yet.
It’s a relatively small gripe, especially considering there are still 48 fun levels here with secret exits, collectibles, time trials, and dev ghosts to encourage you to replay the stages again and again. Combined with the aforementioned customisation and there’s certainly a lot of bang for your buck, especially for the cheap asking price. But that still doesn’t stop the end of the game from feeling really underwhelming. There’s no finale… it just ends, leaving a promise that the final 25% of the game will come eventually. Adding post-launch content is one thing, but leaving out the end of the game prior to launch leaves a bad taste in your mouth and it’s a shame the developer just didn’t wait a little longer to ensure that it releases as a complete package. By the time the final chunk comes out, many gamers will have likely moved onto their next game and may have even forgotten all about this one.
Despite the last quarter of the game being bafflingly unavailable for the foreseeable future, JellyCar Worlds is still a cute little physics platformer that offers great customisation, plenty of challenges, and a unique gimmick you really can’t find elsewhere on the eshop. Whilst you may want to wait for the final chunk of the game to be added, it’s still a title you may want to stick on your radar!