JETT: The Far Shore

JETT: The Far Shore is the followup to Superbrothers first game, Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP. That game came out more than a decade ago, and I only played it once, but it impressed me to the point that I got excited for JETT just from hearing it was a Superbrothers game. That excitement wasn’t misplaced, because I ultimately enjoyed JETT, but this game isn’t going to be the hit that Sword and Sworcery was.

JETT is a third-person action/exploration game. You are Mei. Your community has undertaken a 1000-year journey from your homeworld to an alien planet. As a scout, you have to explore this new world and plant the seeds of future colonization. This is all wrapped in a bit of religious or cult symbology.

The bulk of the game is flying your jett around the world. You can scan alien life, pick it up with a grapple and toss it, bother it with your jett’s engines, or flash it with your headlight. Different lifeforms react to this stimulus, and you use a combination of these things to solve some simple puzzles.

My enthusiasm for JETT hit a bit of a plateau at what I now know as the halfway point. My task was to grapple a glob a stuff, take it to one pool of liquid to energize it, and then throw it at a rock to blow it up. Simple. But the glob explodes before you can get it to the rock unless you drop it into a different pool of liquid that resets the explode cooldown. Still with me? Grapple glob, take it to the charge pool, carry it to the nearest cooldown pool, and then the next cooldown pool, until you get to the rock, and throw it at the rock. The throw even gives you an arc indicator.

The problem is that the arc indicator is not accurate and I constantly overshot the pools. I did this over and over as I learned the true arc of the throw. All the while, jett movement when you have the glob is very slow. I spent way too much time slowly carrying a glob and throwing it sloppily and missing the pools or missing the rock. This was the first time the mechanic game up, and it essentially never came up again. I don’t know why this sequence was in the game.

This led me to my other frustration. The basic plot of the game is fairly simple. The world around it is confusing. It’s wrapped in the mysticism of a fictional civilization that isn’t particularly well explained. To make matters worse, everyone speaks a made-up language with English subtitles. An awful lot of dialog comes from your co-pilot mid-flight. This is fine when you’re just cruising around, but he’s telling me what’s going on and what to do while I’m being attacked. I can focus on not-dying or I can read subtitles.

If I sound down on JETT, it’s because it’s close to a good game. When I was cruising around in the jett, exploring and taking in the atmosphere, I loved it. It was beautiful and alien and wonderful. But the little annoyances added up and ultimately detracted from that fun. I finished JETT and I’m no closer to understanding it than I was from the start. I just happened to have some fun along the way.