Mobile devices like Android smartphones and tablets seem like they were made for platformer style games, there’s something about the side-scrolling action that just fits the screens and makes them more enjoyable than using a d-pad or joystick. Joe’s World: Episode 1, from developer Thecle, brings a lot of side scrolling action to the small screen, and the result is a fun and whimsical journey through the world of Joe.
The formula to an enjoyable arcade side-scroller is simple; make movement easy to understand and don’t try to get too complicated with the plot. Have other side scrollers gone a more complicated route and been successful? Absolutely, but many games fall in the trap of trying to generate an engaging storyline, but skimping on the gameplay. Joe’s World avoids all the trouble by presenting a very simple and straightforward plot, then jumping right into the action.
From the devleoper’s description:
A great misfortune has arrived in the world of Joe. The Forest’s Master is a victim of evil enchantment.
Without his gracious presence, the forest is dying !
Course the four regions of the world to help Joe get the magic stones that they can only treat the Old Tree !
That sums up the plot nicely, you don’t really need any additional information to enjoy Joe’s World. Remember the huge overarching plot of the original Mario games? No? Well that’s because there wasn’t exactly an epic novels worth of reading material. It’s unnecessary for a successful game of this type, and Joe’s World perfectly characterizes that idea.
The simple plot translates very well to the simple gameplay. You control Joe, and your goal is to collect the fruit that lays throughout each level, and then to use that fruit to appease the many animals that are blocking your path. With Joe you can run, jump, and climb to get where you need to go, and when you come across an animal you throw the fruit at them. There’s no health system to keep track of, all you have to worry about is falling to your death or being pushed away by the animals.
Control of Joe is very easy as well, you just use the left bottom corner of the screen like a joystick and the only two buttons you need are located on the right side. Joe isn’t particularly good at staying on platforms, or jumping exactly where you think he should go, and that can be fairly frustrating. The controls aren’t sloppy, but they feel a little loose, which is an odd feeling on a touch game. After some time adjusting it becomes easy to get the hang of how Joe operates, and it just becomes a part of the challenge, likely intended by the developer.
Graphics and design are where Joe’s World really shine, with crisp images and good great 3D models the game really shows off some fantastic visuals. Joe, the main character can run, jump and climb with great looking motion, and the animals you’re trying to get past look good as well. The colors are bright and it gives the immediate impression that the game could be just as easily be enjoyed by children as it could adults.
The sound and music in Joe’s World are fun and fit perfectly with the visual images. You may find yourself getting a little annoyed with the jumping noise after awhile, but really that’s a genre issue that we’ve been dealing with since NES and probably even before that. Nothing about the sound effects is distracting from the game though, and the music is highly enjoyable.
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Overall this is a great platformer for the Android system, and Joe’s World should fit the bill for anyone looking for an old school adventure.
Joe’s World: Episode 1 is available now in the Google Play Store. The price for the full game is $1.65, and it is available for Android devices running 2.3.3 and up. The version reviewed was 1.05 and the download is 28MB. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this Android app review.