jAggy Race Review

jAggy Race (their capitalization, not ours) isn’t the game we were expecting it to be. It’s probably not the game that most other people would expect either, if you’re judging it by its appearance. Given the game’s title and apparent racing mechanics, you would assume that it was indeed a racing game. However, it has more in common with a platformer or maybe even a physics-based puzzle game.

jAggy Race has you controlling an odd-looking fellow in a go-kart that seems a bit too small for him, in light of his giant head that resembles a tennis ball more than anything else. This is only the beginning of the game’s inexplicably silly visuals, which certainly aren’t a bad thing. We don’t know why there are impossibly spherical sheep in your way, but they add character to the game and comically bounce out of your way once you hit them.

The game’s unusual look is fitting given how novel its mechanics are. As mentioned, it has all of the trappings of a racing game, but speed really isn’t your sole objective. If anything, it’s finesse that you’re looking to achieve. If you try to put the pedal to the metal, you’ll simply run into one of the game’s obstacles or, worse, fly off of the track entirely.

Riding on the edge.

When you fly off the track in jAggy Race (and you will as you’re getting used to how the game works), it’d be misleading to say you fall down. Or up. Or left or right. You can fall off of the track in any of these directions, because you’re actually going in a big loop of sorts. You drive around the perimeter of a level that looks like it’d be more at home in a platformer than any sort of kart racer. Your funny little avatar clings to the surface of the stage as you go around it, making concepts like ‘up’ mostly irrelevant.

It’s a really neat idea, but its implementation can be a little frustrating. Because of how easy it is to just speed off of the track, the game actually discourages the sort of off-the-rails insanity that the game’s presentation seems to hint at. Playing through jAggy Race is an experience that demands precision and, unfortunately, memorization. Because of how tight the game’s camera is (which, in the developers’ defense, seems unavoidable), navigating the game’s obstacles on-the-fly isn’t plausible. A lot of players will be fine with the inherent trial and error, as games have a strong history of pattern memorization, but it’s surprising at the very least.

Plenty of people will find a lot to like about jAggy Race, but we can’t recommend it without reservation. If nothing else, you should know what you’re getting into. Though you need to clear the game’s stages in a certain amount of time to progress, it’s going to scratch a platformer itch much better than a racing one.

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