Universal acclaim - based on 52 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 51 out of 52
  2. Negative: 0 out of 52
Buy On
  1. As great as the visual package is, the audio package delivers just as well. The voice acting does wonders with the well-written and witty script and the sound effects all feel just perfect.
  2. Nintendo Power
    Brilliantly innovative and packed with action. VJ may seem bizarre at first glance, but if you give it a chance, you will be amazed and delighted. The graphics are wild, the action is varied and fun and the game even has a sense of humor. [Nov 2003, p.149]
  3. Cheat Code Central
    Quite simply, VJ is a Tour de Force of style meets substance and succeeds on every level.
  4. A rare gem. It somehow manages to capture the essence of what made classic beat ‘em ups like Double Dragon and Streets of Rage so enjoyable, while still delivering a lengthy and varied enough experience for today’s gamer. [Import]
  5. 100
    The most interesting feature in Vietiful Joe is the ability to control the speed of the action.
  6. 100
    The game mechanics are solid and innovative, leaving you with many inventive ways in which to scrap with your foe. The graphics are simply phenomenal, creating a look and feel that teeters more towards art than simply backgrounds and characters.
  7. If you can overlook the annoying aspect of having to start over and only being able to save at the beginning of a new episode or when you quit the game, you will experience an amazingly hard but also wonderfully fun game.
  8. 100
    Viewtiful Joe is immediate, extremely challenging, and grows progressively deeper as you advance. It is frantic, exhilarating, and addictive. In short, it is a classic and everything a game should be.
  9. 100
    We're tempted to overpraise "Viewtiful Joe" because it looks so damn cool, and because it's not another cookie-cutter sequel or retread of a tired franchise. It looks like most game reviewers are falling over themselves to praise the game to the stratosphere, but here at "X-Play" we tell it to you straight. So here's the verdict: Viewtiful Joe is very good.
  10. 100
    There are no clumsy cameras or complex controls to encumber the gameplay here. No, Viewtiful Joe is a video game made manifest into a work of art, and it stands as a shining example of what games should aspire to be.
  11. A stunning example of how creativity can blend seamlessly with gameplay without sacrificing one or the other. The top-notch gameplay coupled with out of this world superhero stunts is the freshest take on a classic side-scrolling action seen in years.
  12. Play Magazine
    Genius, pure genius... Everything needed to stir the soul of anesthetized gamers everywhere is in here. Just when you think you've seen it all, some designer somewhere in a corner of Japan hits the great-idea lotto and a genre is reborn. [Oct 2003, p.18]
  13. 100
    The graphical style is truly innovative, something I haven't been able to say about a game in a long time - it truly looks like a manga come to life. [Oct 2003, p.47]
  14. The new VFX system is something every gamer has been dreaming of and Capcom delivers with amazing detail and astoundingly smooth control. After only a year of waiting, Viewtiful Joe is not only everything you’ve been hoping for, it’s everything you didn't even know you should.
  15. Everything here is amazingly responsive and easy to use. A is jump, X is kick, Y is punch, L is slow, R is speed, and the C-stick or B is zoom. It's all right at your fingertips and nothing requires a second thought.
  16. The game just takes you back in the days of the SNES and Sega Genesis. Viewtiful Joe features great graphics, kicking sounds, and just some of the greatest gameplay to come along in a very long time.
  17. 96
    An instant classic. Joe has an awesome array of moves that are all great fun to pull off. The graphics are brilliant, and the controls are perfect.
  18. 95
    If the intense challenge intimidates you, then good -- you could probably use a good ass kicking, anyway. I know I certainly did. Beating this game is a badge of honor to wear with pride, and you can bet that I'll be playing through Viewtiful Joe several more times to see if I'm still man enough to call myself a gamer.
  19. Game Informer
    A rare gem that seamlessly blends new-age technologies with gameplay of yesteryear, Viewtiful Joe is a stylish brawler that innovates in every field and emerges as one of the most captivating and addictive GameCube titles to date. [Oct 2003, p.124]
  20. It's caused everyone I've shown it to end up with a huge goofy smile on their face after only a few minutes play, has made them say "Wow! Did you see THAT!" on a number of occasions, made me genuinely laugh out loud more than once (try pressing Pause!) and has impressed me time and again with the level of ingenuity and style that Team Viewtiful have infused into the title. [Import]
  21. 95
    Mixing classic gameplay with modern sensibilities and an inimitable art style, Viewtiful Joe is one of the hippest-looking, slickest-playing, and coolest-feeling games around.
  22. Aside from the addictive gameplay, the graphic style gives the game a fresh feel that doesn't look like every other cel-shaded game. Thick, heavy black lines and an overwhelming amount of pink seem to be the exact opposite of what you find in most hit titles, but it works for Joe because "Team Viewtiful" took time to make it work.
  23. The VFX powers are just plain cool and the game is consistently satisfying and challenging. The fact that this game has been green-lighted in a day and age where perfecting the intricacies of 3D rendering is the holy grail of most development teams is a good sign indeed.
  24. Deftly delivers a fantastic cel-shaded look while also adding a really great series of unique gameplay twists that make it much, much better than the average side-scrolling action game.
  25. While the difficulty of some battles may have you ready to smash your controller at times, the rewards for getting past the hard battles are more than worth the frustration. Viewtiful Joe is one of those rare must-play games that people will still be talking about 10 years down the road.
  26. To simply say this is a 'viewtiful' game to play would be an understatement.
  27. 92
    The GameCube may still not be the biggest and baddest console on the block, but someone at Nintendo must have been a very good boy to deserve this.
  28. Viewtiful Joe is an artistic playground. As an artist myself I can say this is interactive art.
  29. Games as stylistically compelling as Viewtiful Joe don’t come around often. Thankfully, it has the gameplay to back it up, so Gamecube owners with a taste for action should definitely pick it up. It might require superhuman gaming skills, but who said life as a hero was easy?
  30. Smooth, engrossing, tough, and pretty, Viewtiful Joe proves that complex play, properly executed, works on as many levels as the ones you merely have to complete.
  31. 90
    What makes it so effective and modern is the variety, quality and consistency in the game world. It truly is in the hands of the gamer which moves to use in any given situation, making Joe such an unusual and unique proposition. [JPN Import]
  32. One of the most handsome, inventive, and to be perfectly frank, cool beat-em-ups ever conceived. [Nov 2003, p.76]
  33. It's a timeless piece of quality gaming that, with the exception of its visual element, would probably work on any format, past or present.
  34. One of the very few games to masterfully merge artistic style with compelling substance in the wonderful visuals, brilliant combat system and great game concepts.
  35. It's a ridiculous name, of course, but it manages to sum up how absurdly joyful the game is, a riot of technicolour chopsocky fun that'll immediately have you punching the air in glee. [GamesMaster]
  36. Talk about a game that’s firing on all cylinders, Viewtiful Joe is one high-octane ride.
  37. Brings back the old-school 2D brawler style with plenty of innovation and plenty of depth to keep the most hardcore gamers jaws dropped for hours on end.
  38. It's an amalgamation of one-trick ponies (cel-shading, time bending, old school nostalgia tickling) to make a fulfilling, satisfying and jaw-dropping experience. Meet the new action game, better than the old action game.
  39. If there’s anything wrong with Viewtiful Joe, then there is one thing. Viewtiful Joe can be very, very hard. It’s unforgiving at the best of times and makes no qualms about it.
  40. Fusing the old-school of pinpoint control, simple, yet fun gameplay, and an excellent amount of challenge with a healthy dose of new-school flash, and coating the whole thing with one of the most eye-catching art styles in gaming to date, Viewtiful Joe is a much-needed refresher course in why games are made to begin with - to be tons of fun, an entertainment world no amount of popcorn blockbusters or cheap reality TV could hope to match.
  41. The animations are smooth, fast and fluid. And the backgrounds are filled with detail and colour to set the mood and tone for the level brilliantly.
  42. Capcom got this game right, and should be praised as one of the elite.
  43. The most unique looking graphics to come to any console.
  44. Such a riotous explosion of colour and astounding visuals tied to a brilliantly useable control system that there’s little in the videogame world (or anywhere else for that matter) that compares to the sensation of playing it. [Import]
  45. Joe's style is his substance. His story may amount to so much fluff, but the flimsy plot is only pretense for the near-perfect gameplay you'll find in this comic book come to life. [Nov 2003, p.192]
  46. 85
    It's not perfect because of the poor enemy drones and because the game doesn't last as long as we wish it would--but that's in some ways a good thing, because we like what we do get to play, and want to see more.
  47. Entertainment Weekly
    Joe is a bit stingy on save points, causing you to repeat parts of the same level over and over (and over), but thanks to its gorgeous visuals, you'll never tire of this View. [21 Nov 2003, p.L2T 46]
  48. It was a challenge! At times I would have smothered small animals for some help with defeating a boss, but the good easily out weighs the bad in this case.
  49. Edge Magazine
    Viewtiful Joe will undoubtedly test your patience. But the moments that stay with you after you switch off the GameCube are characterised by inventiveness, wit, verve, charm style, vigour and, above all, fun. And that's not something that can be said of that many other games these days. [Sept 2003]
  50. The whole package offers a weird, unique, fun, original, stylish and difficult game which, unfortunately, can be all too hard to find these days.
  51. 80
    A truly innovative action hit with mind-blowing graphics and a scattering of gameplay flaws that stifles the fun a bit. For the most part, though, this is a unique, well-crafted game with a solid, enjoyable feel.

Awards & Rankings

#6 Most Discussed GameCube Game of 2003
#5 Most Shared GameCube Game of 2003
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 131 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 98 out of 131
  2. Negative: 9 out of 131
  1. iguanaman
    Oct 19, 2007
    An intensly beautiful and innovative experience and a perfect example that console sidescrollers are far from dead.
  2. JoeV.
    Nov 3, 2003
    Buy it now, play it forever.
  3. AlexD.
    Oct 10, 2003
    The quintiessential videogame.