If you’ve seen the wildly and perplexingly popular Jersey Shore (I haven’t…and I intend to keep it that way), you’re probably familiar with the “Guido” stereotype that show seems to focus on. The type of guy who spends his time tanning, working out and womanizing on a daily basis. Jersey GTL, which I presume stands for Gym, Tan, Laundry, is a game that sort of lampoons this culture and turns it into an interesting little side-scroller that serves its purpose as a decent little distraction.
You play as one of those heavily tanned, fist-pumping guys out for a run on the Jersey boardwalk. Your objective? To pick up as many chicks as you can while avoiding obstacles such as angry “bros”, “grenades”, your “ball-busting boss” and, surprisingly, the scenery. Nothing ruins a cruise down the boardwalk like slamming into the side of a building, after all. For hooking up with the tanned chicks (Guidettes?), you gain points. You also get points for collecting bottles, chains and slices of pizza strewn about the ground along your path. The more points you get, the faster you move and, of course, the harder it is to dodge the obstacles in your way. There’s a very simple concept at work here but its underlying simplicity is what makes this game so easy to pick up and play.
Doing a little research on the subject of Jersey Shore, I came across a quote from Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino in which he says “GTL” or Gym, Tanning and Laundry is something you have to do every day to stay at the top of your game, so to speak. Of course, that mindset is incorporated into the game as well. As you’re running along the boardwalk you’ll pass by gyms, tanning salons and Laundromats and, of course, it’s in your best interest to stop in these places.
For going into gyms, you’ll activate the temporary “Juicehead” mode in which you’ll be invincible to all of the obstacles in your path (except the buildings, of course) but will still lose points for running into the grenades. Going into the laundry sets you up with a new outfit, which you’ll need to keep the points coming at a steady pace. Tanning salons are the only required stops you’ll have to make on your run. As you run, you’ll slowly but steadily grow increasingly pale, as represented by a small meter on the top right of the screen. Upon becoming “dangerously pale” you’ll have only moments to get to a tanning salon before your run is over.
What is quite interesting about Jersey GTL are the visuals. Old school gamers and some new schoolers with a taste for retro games will immediately notice the visual similarities between this game and the NES Mega Man games. The decidedly retro visual style is charming and unique (relatively speaking, of course) and I have to say I like it quite a bit. Sure, it’s shamelessly “borrowed” from Mega Man but it’s not an issue to me. It works, plain and simple.
There are a couple of downsides to the game though. The control scheme, consisting of two up and down arrows situated on the right side of the screen, sometimes didn’t seem as responsive as I’d like. Perhaps if the buttons were a bit bigger this wouldn’t have been an issue. Also, since most of the game seems to be randomly generated, including the rate at which certain buildings appear, there are times when the tanning salon simply won’t show up at all during your run, causing you to fail regardless of how good you were doing.
Jersey GTL is a game that’s surprisingly entertaining in short bursts and has an addictive quality about it that makes you want to keep coming back to it and try to best your high score. It’s not a very varied game but it doesn’t pretend to be either. Overall, I had fun with Jersey GTL. It’s a simple but fun little game that’s worth its $.99 asking price.
Jersey GTL is published by MEDL Mobile and is available now on the iTunes App Store. I was provided with a promotional copy of the game for free for the sake of evaluation.