games / Reviews

Joe Danger: Special Edition (XBLA) Review

December 15, 2011 | Posted by Trace Aber

Game: Joe Danger: Special Edition
Genre: Action
Players: 1-2
Developer: Hello Games
Publisher: Hello Games
Rated E for Everyone

Ahh, Joe Danger. What was once a PSN exclusive (among many greats) has now moved to the Xbox LIVE Arcade, and this time under the banner of a “Special Edition.” But this special edition actually adds worthwhile material, and is more than just a name change, And it’s not like the original PSN version needed anything extra – it was a great game that featured plenty of challenge and fun!

Joe Danger has you playing as the titular character who is hoping to make a comeback after his daredevil career fell to the wayside after some bad luck, taking place in the 70s when daredevils were actually pretty popular. Combining gameplay elements of Excitebike and Trails HD, you’ll be guiding Mr. Danger through complex courses that require not only your ability to perform dangerous stunts, but also find hidden areas, collect items, and other track-specific missions. Plus you can make your own levels!


A game like Joe Danger requires precise timing, and thankfully the controls are about as perfect as you can get. Whether you need to boost in mid-air, jump over a shark tank, or duck under an obstacle, the controls feel fluid and intuitive. Joe isn’t weighed down by gravity that much, but he doesn’t feel like he’s floating in air either.

While Trials HD tested not only your skill but also your patience, Joe Danger is much more polite. It still requires skill and patience, but not once have I felt like truly giving up. Everything is done in such a quirky manner that it’s hard to get angry, even if it does feel impossible at times. Each level has a variety of goals to choose from, which range from simply completing the level to collecting all the stars to collecting the letters “DANGER” hidden throughout. You can do these all at once or take them on one at a time, which makes the game much more accessible. Once you complete a task you’re given a star, which can then be used to unlock the next level. It’s a simple system of progression but one that works really well.

One of the new features of the Special Edition are pro medals. There are 25 in total and they require that you complete every star objective in a single run, which is much more difficult than it sounds as the levels with pro medals tend to be the more challenging levels. As an added bonus you can unlock avatar rewards for earning pro medals, which is just icing on the cake after playing a level to near perfection.

Plus, you can be a monkey!

The level editor is not as daunting as some of the other console level editors we’ve seen, and Hello Games were smart enough to include mini-tutorials within the single player experience. What’s great about this feature is you can be in the middle of an awesome combo but then decide you want to crash into a bunch of missiles – no problem, just throw them down where you think you’ll land. Sure, you can also add productive things like ramps and whatnot, but I prefer missiles. You can then upload your missile-laden levels for others to download.

Another special feature is the Lab, which is a more challenging, albeit shorter, version of the main Joe Danger experience. These require lighting quick reflexes and a lot of practice, but also help teach you a lot of neat tricks to show off to your friends while playing in the regular mode. The first couple sets are standard fare, but after that the remaining levels show the true complexities of the game and how much skill is actually required to master this otherwise colorful, friendly game.

There’s also multiplayer, though it’s local only which is rather disappointing. It’s still fun going head to head with your friends, but online multiplayer would have been nice.

Other new features of the game are better anti-aliasing, new characters, and 80% faster load times. For a game like this, fast load times are almost necessary, and I can assure you that you barely even notice when the game does load.

-Colorful and fun world
-Perfect controls
-Challenging but not frustrating

-No online multiplayer

The 411
This is a rare case in which the “Special Edition” actually lives up to its name. Even without that tag this game is worth the 1200MP asking price as there’s so much to play, create, and see in the world of Joe Danger. There’s nothing to complain about and for those looking for a friendly version of Trials HD, or want more danger in their lives, this is a must-download.

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Trace Aber
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