I collected crystals in Echoes, zoomed around planets in Blast Off, annihilated the undead in Age of Zombies, and most notably sliced up so much fruit in Fruit Ninja that could very well feed an entire third world country. If there is one thing that Halfbrick Studios excels at, it’s making games that are easy to pick up, but near impossible to put down, and I can say they once again managed to do just that with Jetpack Joyride.
After ridding humanity of the terrible undead, Barry Steakfries is now on a mission to have a hell of a good time by stealing a top secret jetpack made from two machine guns from a top secret lab. His task won’t be easy however as the lab is heavily fortified with various defensive measures that are sure to keep Barry from ever seeing the light of day.
Jetpack Joyride’s one button controls are super intuitive and easy to grasp. With a touch of the screen, the two machine guns strapped to Barry’s back fire off and propel him into the air, and as you release he falls back down to the ground. It’s amusing to see the chaos stricken scientists run around and get blasted when caught under the jetpack’s fire power. As you move Barry through the level, various hazards such as electric fences, missiles and lasers will try to impede your progress. Though as this is one of those “How far can you get before dying” games, your main objective is to try to stay alive as long as you can while outmaneuvering obstacles, and picking up coins and power-ups in the process, so don’t except to a stage progression here.
Speaking of power-ups, there are five that will spawn during each level at random and will break once you hit one of the obstacles. There’s the Lil Stomper, a heavy robot suit equipped with jets that let him jump high and descend slowly, the Profit Bird which is a giant bird jet, a motorcycle called the Bad As Hog which makes Barry look like the terminator (even firing off a shotgun at unsuspecting scientists), a Gravity Suit which lets you switch between running on the ground or on the ceiling, and lastly the Crazy Freaking Teleporter which enables you to teleport past obstacles.
Trying to get further each time you play isn’t even the most addicting part of the game. Collecting coins during each run will enable you to buy various outfits for Barry such as nerdy glasses, a green mohawk, or even a zombie body and head that will turn you into one of the enemies from Age of Zombies, as well as various humorous jetpacks such as a bubble gun jetpack or a rainbow jetpack that spews a trail of color each time you fire it off. The best part of going into each level are the missions however. They’ll start easy like collect 50 coins in one run, or travel at least 250 meters, but as you complete them they get increasingly more challenging like high-five 50 scientists, travel a certain distance in a vehicle, or have near misses with 20 missiles (though I have yet to come across ones that are as hard as the final set of objectives for Tiny Wings). Not only do you always get a different run thanks to level randomization, the missions help change it up by giving you these different tasks that make you play different each time. Completing each mission, of which there are always three at a time, grants you a certain amount of stars which help raise your overall level. All these elements working together will have you constantly saying “Just one more run!” striving to unlock that next jetpack, or get that next level.
As a last resort before Barry suffers an inevitable death, a slot machine pops up that lets you get a second chance (provided you picked up Spin Coins during your run) by either granting an extra life, earning extra coins, or bombing your lifeless body and propelling it through the level. Though getting a second chance at a level is a great way to further your score,bombing your body doesn’t nearly help as you would want it to, as it only slightly raises your overall distance. Flooding the rest of the level with coins and trying to get as much as possible would be a fantastic way to end a level with a bang.
I can’t praise this game enough, and as my friends and wife can attest to, I’ve been glued to it since the minute I downloaded it. The sense of constant progression coupled with the drive to constantly outdo yourself and your friends on leaderboards make this one heck of an addicting title. Do yourself a favor and spend 99 cents on this iOS gem, you most definitely won’t regret it.