Game Review: Jets ‘N’ Guns 2

Jets ‘N’ Guns 2 is a side-scrolling space shooter available for Nintendo Switch, and one of the most riveting games in its genre. From the moment the title screen loads, the game fires on all cylinders with bright, detailed visuals and music guaranteed to get your heart pumping as you prepare to unleash havoc on hordes of enemies in all shapes and sizes.

There’s no real story to speak of. You are a pilot whose mission is to save the galaxy from an alien threat. But what makes the game outstanding is how Jets ‘N’ Guns 2 goes out of its way to make every aspect of the experience as user-friendly, as challenging, and as enjoyable as possible for every kind of player. Between three difficulty modes (Casual, Normal and Hardcore) and myriad ways to customize your fighter, anyone with even a passing interest in an enjoyable shooter will find something to like about Jets ‘N’ Guns 2.

After customizing your character’s name and avatar, and a brief tutorial, you hit the ground running, as it were, taking on your first mission, flying from left to right and destroying everything in your path. Not only are there countless enemy types great and small, but the environment is also highly destructible on every level. Levels have evenly distributed checkpoints ensuring that death never leads to a major loss in progress, and most (but not all) of the game’s fourteen levels culminate in a major boss fight. Standard for the genre, but so well done here with incredible visual and sound design guaranteed to motivate you to demolish the enemy and do it in style.

Throughout the stages, the thorough player will also find secrets that unlock a few hidden levels and extra trinkets that can be sold for cash. Most levels have these, giving completionists something to shoot for.

Between each level, the player goes to the shop where the heart of the game lies. Here, the player can outfit their ship with a massive amount of weaponry and tools to customize the experience. You can equip up to four main weapons, two special abilities, missiles that fire automatically, as well as bombs that (mostly) drop underneath, and more. All of these weapons can be further upgraded and customized with add-on items that affect fire rate, damage, aiming and more.

The prices for most tools seem outrageous at first, but as you play through the game and complete stages, you gain money while new weapons are unlocked. And the store’s sell prices are the same as the buy prices, which means you can effectively switch available weapons out as much as you like. You can test your customizations in the shop’s test level to your heart’s content, giving you every opportunity to make your ship feel just the way you like it. You can even change your ship’s visual design, from its cockpit shape to its wing position, as well as its colors.

The game features fourteen standard levels not including hidden missions, and each beautifully detailed and varied, from space stations to alien planets. Each one is teeming with ships, cannons, machines and monsters whose sole mission is to destroy you. The screen will fill with explosions and particle effects as you lay waste to everything. In fact, if any complaint can be levied against the game, it’s that sometimes, especially when advanced weapons are available, the screen can be absolutely bursting with projectiles and effects. It can be can be hard to tell what may or may not be dangerous, with only the Switch’s HD rumble letting you know you’re taking damage. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen to such a degree that it ruins the experience. On the contrary, it really sells the feeling of being a powerhouse craft bringing all this destruction.

The game has plenty of humor as well, from the hidden rubber duckies in the levels and weapons like the ‘Excrementor 666’ which attacks with alien droppings. More weapons and add-ons are unlocked even with subsequent playthroughs after completing the game the first time, so even the game’s fairly short length is forgivable.

With great visuals, amazing music, a seemingly endless supply of tools to use to customize your ship, high replay value and even a two-player co-op mode, Jets ‘N’ Guns 2 ranks as one of the greatest shooters available and highly recommended.

Jonathan Price