If you’ve ever wanted to strap a jetpack on your back and traverse an alien planet looking to become the greatest hero that ever lived, then hop on board the Willy train and get ready for an adventure like you’ve never had before. Aliens with eyes on strings, bossy garbage trucks, flying fish, spelunking, a crazy monkey, and the dullest of heroes await you in Willy Jetman: Astromonkey’s Revenge.
By dull I mean rather mentally challenged. Willy isn’t the smartest of gents to take on air, but he’s a lazy street sweeper who knows how to handle a plethora of weaponry. Gladys, the recycling space ship, has brought him to a far away planet named Gravos to pick up pieces of wreckage and debris from a terrible accident. Willy refers to Gladys as a garbage truck and she has quite the attitude. Willy is equipped with a machine gun and bravery that’s spurred on by his witless mind. He does end up having a hard working spirit, however, and you must help him save the native species by killing other native species. You have to earn enough resources to purchase weapons that you find in the caves, mines, fortresses, and waterways. There are tons of hidden areas to discover and places to explore.
I know this is categorized as an action adventure game, but it really has a lot of Metroidvania aspects to it. It maps where you go, you level Willy up, you earn new weapons and items, and you can go anywhere you want that isn’t roped off by your lack of proper items. This isn’t what I’d consider to be an extremely difficult game like Hollow Knight, however it does kick your butt quite often and the boss fights can be excruciatingly difficult. One in particular keeps sucking you toward the boss while little creatures just bombard you to the point where you need to go hunting to level up and upgrade your weapons. So if you’re looking for a challenge, you will find it here.
There is a lot to be said about a learning curve to games. This one has a very short learning curve as far as controls are concerned, but what may challenge you is mastering Willy’s jetpack so that you can hover where you want in order to shoot the attacking creatures. They have it mapped to the right trigger and at first I thought I should re-map the buttons. After playing for an hour or so, I did find that it worked really well to use the default button schema and rolled with it. I did get a little frustrated in the beginning because I was hitting the wrong button to shoot. I would also accidentally hit the wrong button and wind up launching a mine and blow myself up.
When you die you are sent back to your last save spot and you lose all progress you’ve made up to that point. It really is in your best interest to head to a save point as quickly as you can after you do something difficult because it happened on more than one occasion that I died after attempting a boss battle because I didn’t take the time to regenerate my health at the save point. Actually, the saving system is exactly like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. This game reminds me a lot of the fun I had the first time I played that awesome classic. Mind you this is a totally different kind of experience, but still has many of the things that made SotN one of my favorite games of all time.
The graphics are said to be pixel art style and they are very colorful; I would say downright beautiful. We’re not talking about graphics on par with Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Apples to oranges, though, it’s just as beautiful. The character designs are brilliant and there is a wide array of enemies you need to take on to win your title of Galactic Hero. I never noticed any slowdown in any level and everything runs very smooth. When you enter into a new part of the world, there is less than a second delay and you’re right on to the next area.
Okay, so anyone who’s ready my past reviews where a game has good music may know that I absolutely love video game soundtracks. Many times if the music is really good but the gameplay is a little on the poor side, I will give it props for the soundtrack. This game has some of the catchiest music I have heard from a game in a very long time. We’re not talking sweeping orchestral symphony that will move you to tears. I’m talking about fun, spunky tunes that get you humming to them and they begin running through your mind even when you’re not playing. It’s really, really good. The game is good, but the music makes it darn near perfect.
Speaking of playing the game, the controls are super tight. The gravity vs. jetpack mechanics are spot on and work extremely well. The controls just feel great. If you jump just before you ignite your jetpack, you climb to the heavens much faster. This can get you out of quite a few jams and can really add to your fighting strategy. You can easily feather your thrust to hover just out of the reach of spiky things and horribly hot lava. There are diabolical obstacles the architects dreamt up just to piss you off. You will have a boss fight and think to yourself that it isn’t very hard. The next one may just wind up putting you in the insane asylum. There was a few times where I swore so loud that my poor puppy ran into the next room.
I do have one minor complaint that I thought could probably be fixed in an update. When you have your mines equipped you have a counter to show you how many you have left. As you kill enemies around you, you get rewarded for stringing together as many kills as you can by way of a combo system. This combo counter is directly behind this tally of remaining ammo. Since it’s probably easily correctable, like the mistakes a quarterback makes in the Super Bowl, I doubt it will be an issue very long.
If you have been itching for a slightly less frustrating experience than Hollow Knight and you love the Metroidvania style of game, then this one should keep you entertained for many hours. Willy features a lighthearted story line, bubbly fun music, and a good laugh or two thrown in. I can get bored of a game really quickly sometimes, but this one kept me begging for more and I can’t wait to play it while I’m working or doing grown up things that I don’t want to do.
Willy Jetman: Astromonkey's Revenge Review
- Graphics - 9/109/10
- Sound - 10/1010/10
- Gameplay - 9/109/10
- Lasting Appeal - 9/109/10
Final Thoughts: EXCELLENT
A nearly perfect mix of action adventure and Metroidvania styling makes this a must have title for those who enjoy the side-scrolling, platform jumping, leveling up games like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Metroid. There is a lot of fun to be had even if you don’t like those types of games because the jetpack really does add a layer of fun that you don’t get from a triple jump.
Jay has been an avid gamer since the Intellivision days. His hobbies include building PCs, 3D modeling and printing, and spending time with his children and dog.