Game: Jetpack Joyride
Platform: iOS (iPod Touch, iPad, iPhone)
You might have heard of Jetpack Joyride before it bore that title and was instead known as Machine Gun Jetpack. Well, don’t go all hipster on this game and refuse to play it because you knew about it before it was cool. You’ll be missing out on one hell of a ride…A joyride. On a jetpack.
The developer of the game, the Australia-based Halfbrick Studios, doesn’t mess around when it comes to creating addictive, fun, simple games. You may be familiar with their other surprise hit title, Fruit Ninja, which has made quite the splash on the iOS platforms as well as the Kinect. If you’re not, prepare to give Halfbrick all of your money because everything they create seems to turns to quirky Australian gold. Their latest entry into the iOS market is no exception.
In Jetpack Joyride, you’ll take control of protagonist Barry Steakfries. He’s a rugged, stocky guy in a business suit just looking for an escape from his daily grind. He finds one when he steals an experimental jetpack, which you’ll be handling as you fly across the screen while navigating through the laboratory.
The handling of the jetpack is flawless. Every finger touch is handled with complete responsiveness from your pack. You’ll raise up with each push and hover down with every release in attempts to avoid the objects that scroll across the screen as you whiz past. The great handling will come in handy as you’ll find yourself in sticky situations where you’ll have to make quick escapes from danger.
There are plenty of items and power-ups you’ll find along the way that will assist in your goal to cruise through the hallways of the lab. Among them are the vehicle power-ups, which give you a unique flight experience separate the jetpack. The best part about them may be the homages they pay. For example there’s a motorcycle that landed in the game straight from Terminator 2 and will have you blasting a shotgun as you blow past scientists. There’s also a friendly jab at Angry Birds with the Profit Bird power up, a vehicle that looks decidedly like the Angry Birds mascot and hemorrhages money as it arcs across the screen and devours coins. No matter what vehicle you happen to find yourself in, you’ll gain a new style of play for the duration of the ride. If you crash with the power-up, you’ll be returned to your normal pack and allowed to continue onward.
Aside from the plethora of power-ups, there’s coins all over the place that you’ll collect to purchase new gear. The more coins collected, the more unlock options made available, each of which adds a new twist on the game. If I can make a suggestion to you, I say go for the rainbow jetpack. There’s not a huge benefit to it over any of the other options, rainbows are just esthetically pleasing. Plus it’s funny to see all the scientists run from the sparkly smoke trail that is left behind, as if they’re afraid of looking fabulous.
If the upgrades and power-ups aren’t enough to keep you riding, Jetpack Joyride invokes the power of achievements to keep play going through your lunch break and well into your work hours. Challenges vary and can include goals like tallying 1000m of running, ending a flight between 1000m and 1500m, or hitting 5 red lights in a single run. All of these goals unlock even more goals and it seems like they will never stop coming. This is in part because, well, they won’t. Once everything is achieved, you can do it all again with a Call of Duty style prestige system. For $0.99, this game gives you nearly unlimited value.
If there is anything negative one can say about Jetpack Joyride, it’s that there’s too much stuff. It takes quite a bit of grinding to unlock everything that is available. If that sounds like too much work, you can always drop $2 and unlock the content but there is still way more this game has to offer than what one would expect– especially for a $2.99 investment. If the biggest complaint about a game is that there’s too much to do and there’s hours of game time before everything is unlocked, the game is doing something right.
All in all, Jetpack Joyride is the definition of what a one-touch platform style game should be. It’s simple enough that literally anyone can play yet, yet has enough depth that you’ll constantly be trying to beat your own scores and reach the next goal. If you have 99 pennies laying around, I cannot think of a single thing that it would be more worthwhile to invest them into. You’ll get an uncountable amount of hours out of this game.