Viewtiful Joe received positive reviews upon its release. The GameCube version of the game currently holds a GameRankings aggregate score of 92%, while its PlayStation 2 port holds a score of 88%. Metacritic lists the GameCube and PlayStation 2 versions of the game at 93 out of 100 and 90 out of 100, respectively. The game's graphics, gameplay, and challenge have all been common areas of praise among many reviewers. IGN gave Viewtiful Joe an "Outstanding" rating, noting that the beautiful cel-shaded graphics and high-intensity action make it one of the best action games on the GameCube and PlayStation 2. Likewise, Eurogamer called it "imaginative, beautiful, engaging and above all else entertaining". Game Informer praised it as "a completely original and highly entertaining work of art". Criticisms about Viewtiful Joe have been few but consistent among reviews. IGN complained of the game's lack of boss variety. GameSpy has concurred, noting that the bosses were too easy due to a powerful attack that the player can perform. Reviewers have also criticized the lack of progressive scan in the game's PlayStation 2 port. IGN and Eurogamer have additionally pointed out that the PlayStation 2 port suffers slowdown in later stages of the game.
In Japan, the GameCube version of Viewtiful Joe sold through its initial shipment of less than 100,000 copies during the week of its release. Preorders of the GameCube version sold out on Capcom's North American website prior to its ship date, and Viewtiful Joe debuted as the tenth best-selling game in the region. The PlayStation 2 version sold a poor 9,912 units in its first week of release in Japan. Worldwide, sales of the game reached 275,000 copies on the GameCube and 46,000 on the PlayStation 2. Sales of the game in both North America and Europe were lower than what Capcom had predicted, but due to its small budget, the game was considered by Inaba to be relatively successful commercially.Read full review