I heard about this game a couple weeks ago… no, that’s a lie. A couple months ago, more exactly. I didn’t pay much attention to it at the time, but I bought it this last Monday and played through the entire first story mode.
I’m pleasantly happy with the result.
Spark The Electric Jester is what would happen if you took a fast-paced platformer like Sonic and gave it a splash of Kirby power. It’s a concept that actually flows kinda well.
The main platforming itself is more based on Freedom Planet, a Sonic-like that was released a few years ago. You can run, jump, wall-jump, dash, and swat things with some basic attacks. Touch damage is non-existent; Enemies need to actively launch an attack to hurt you. And Spark himself has a bit of both speed and combat potential to make the gameplay a relatively painless experience.
And then you take the various powers at Sparky’s disposal.
Unlike Kirby, Spark doesn’t assimilate, inhale, or osmose powers from enemies. Said powers are found throughout the stages, in either glass boxes or lying around in hidden (or not-so-hidden) corners. They take many forms, and give Spark new powers, like air dashing, wall running, projectiles, or straight up defying the laws of physics themselves.
You can hold two powers on your jester at any time, and mixing various sets is going to make or break your time in the game. Some powers are better suited to moving through stages, and others are made for beating up the various robotic enemies you’ll be fighting (or bypassing, as the case may be).
Oh, by the way. The plot of the game is that Spark lost his job to a look-alike robot named Fark, so he sets out on a mission to punch his circuits out and get his job back. The story gets a little more involved than that, but it honestly serves as nothing more as an excuse to dash and bash all the things.
My recommendation though, is playing the game, like any platformer, with a controller. I couldn’t do that, and while using a keyboard/mouse combo isn’t the worst thing you can do, the fact that you have to constantly, and constantly, rebind the keys for a more comfortable experience because the game cannot save keyboard configurations, is honestly rather annoying. That, and the general ease in using a D-Pad for eight-directional movement (if the case calls for it), is typically smoother than using WASD or arrow keys.
By the way, I can’t take WASD as a word seriously. It sounds like someone trying too hard to be cool.
Getting down to it though, only the final stage has any sort of unfair types of platforming/hazard combinations. The other fourteen (Yes, there are fifteen stages in total, and some of them have sub-stages) stages more or less serve as a gradual increase in difficulty in platforming and enemy variety, which is appreciated in a game like this.
You know, provided that you don’t fly through the air with the greatest of ease with Gravity.
The music ranges from peppy, to rocking, to smooth as funk. I can get down with some of the more energetic tracks in this game.
Despite the seeming length of the game with it’s fifteen stages, it only took me about… four hours to beat the first story. And beating that unlocks a second story, and beating that unlocks some bonus challenges as well, so some replay for mastery is offered. The only thing it’s really missing is a boss selector/Arena mode, for practicing bosses or just messing around with various powers.
Spark The Electric Jester promises an enjoyable time with some speedy platforming hijinks with a versatile power system that you can pick from to suit your own playstyle. If you’re a fan of either Sonic or Kirby games, you’ll have a pretty good time with this one.
There’s really not a lot more I can say about the game. It’s a simple, fun, platformer you can spend an afternoon playing. And really, I think that sums it up quite tidily.
You can grab the game on Steam from here: Jester Is Number One!
(This is totally not a filler review by any means. I promise to have something more substantial next time.)