While developer Hello Games has arguably moved on to bigger and better things with No Man's Sky, we suspect that Joe Danger will always remain a part of the Guildford-based outfit's DNA. The original game was a smash hit on the PlayStation 3, prompting the four-man studio's stuntman-like soar to popularity, and its successor, Joe Danger 2: The Movie, was an equally accomplished outing, whisking the eponymous Evel Knievel wannabe away to a variety of faux film sets.
Unlike the first foray, this slick sequel includes a variety of vehicles for you to master. With the titular hero falling into favour with a Hollywood director, you'll be engaging in all manner of set-piece sequences, from Indiana Jones-esque minecart rides to James Bond-style ski slope infiltrations. The release furthers this silver screen feel with heavily reverberated guitar riffs, bold brass band hits, and more bad puns than a bumper joke book.
This pitch-perfect presentation is only part of the package's appeal, though, as the core gameplay takes centre stage. While the franchise has been compared to the likes of Excite Bike, it takes on a guise all of its own, with platformer-inspired levels just as common as downhill jams. Some stages, for example, equip you with a jet pack, and see you exploring snowy sets in search of hidden stars and missing letters; others involve nuclear missiles and Ski-Doos.
The title's quest for variety will keep you on your toes throughout its three to four hour story mode, with dozens of different challenges to beat. It's the fusion of these, though, that creates the real learning curve, with Pro Medals up for grabs if you can complete all of a certain stage's objectives in one clean sweep. Deleted Scenes will test your dexterity even further, with unicycle stages and bowling ball minigames swept up from the cutting room floor.
Look at it from the outside, and it's relatively simple stuff – especially when compared to the complexity of the company's forthcoming infinite universe. However, there's brilliance in its straightforward systems, as each of the arenas are cunningly designed, testing you at every turn. Moreover, the controls map masterfully to the PlayStation Vita, with port house Four Door Lemon maintaining the smooth 60 frames-per-second refresh rate of the original on Sony's portable powerhouse.
Perhaps even more impressive is that the developer doesn't appear to have sacrificed any of the product's visual fidelity in the process, with the title's oversaturated colour scheme arguably popping even better on the handheld's five-inch display. Multiplayer has been removed, and we couldn't find a way to share our user-generated levels either, but everything else has made the jump from home consoles and the PC.
And that includes the Media Molecule exclusive costumes for Iota, Atoi, and Sackboy, as well as Steve from Minecraft and the cast of Valve's class-based shooter, Team Fortress 2. There's even an extra level based upon Mojang's craft-'em-up, although this doesn't seem quite as well optimised as the rest of the release, stuttering somewhat during our test sessions. System specific online leaderboards round out the package, with plenty of filtering options if you're into that sort of thing.
You won't be throwing rotten tomatoes at Joe Danger 2: The Movie on the Vita, as this is a meticulous port that maintains the appeal of the original PlayStation 3 release. Perky presentation mixed with measured gameplay make for a thoroughly enjoyable arcade treat, while all of the extras ensure that you won't be seeing the credits too quickly.