You know what? I think these Halfbrick Studios’ guys have figured out the magic formula for making casual games that can also miraculously appeal to core gamers. Only sorcery can explain how one small company could release Fruit Ninja, Age of Zombies, Monster Dash, Raskulls, and more all in the span of less than two years. On top of that, their greatest trick of all was making me love playing a Kinect game
. So when they invited me to take a look at their next game at PAX, I of course couldn’t say no to their charms. What I found there was Halfbrick’s new iOS game Jetpack Joyride which has now launched on the iTunes Store. Is it worth the buck?
A million times, yes. Well, I guess that would be $1 million, so maybe not quite that much, but the fact that they can release a game this good for a measly dollar is silly. This is easily a must-own game for iOS devices and carries on Halfbrick’s tradition of simple yet addictive fun. A variation on the “constant running” genre and reminiscent of caped Mario collecting coins in Super Mario World, Jetpack Joyride straps a machinegun jetpack on Barry Steakfries (you may know him as the hero from Monster Dash) and puts you in control of navigating him through deathtrap-filled laboratories. That control comes via holding a finger on the screen to make Barry rise and letting go to let him fall. Pretty easy stuff, but as the speed at which you must dodge electric walls, laser beams, and missiles increases this simple concept becomes addictive beyond belief.
Jetpack Joyride doesn’t just stop at nailing game mechanics that I’ve quite honestly played in other iOS games. Instead, Halfbrick has inserted depth and built an amazing framework around the game. For starters, no two runs of the game feel exactly the same as the patterns of obstacles, coins, Spin Tokens, and vehicle pick-ups are rearranged each time. The five vehicles in the game give Barry an extra level of protection and spice up the gameplay by slightly altering the controls. For example, the Profit Bird (nice nod to Angry Birds) requires constant tapping to keep it aloft and the Crazy Freaking Transporter let’s you bamf
about the screen. All sessions of Jetpack Joyride must end in Barry’s demise, but the game even continues beyond the grave provided you picked up some Spin Tokens. These tokens can be inserted in the Final Spin slot machine giving you a chance to win a second life, power-ups for your next run, or even bombs to hurl Barry’s lifeless corpse further down the course. There’s also a great goal system in play where you always have three active missions ranging from cumulative tasks like high-fiving twenty-five scientists to specific instances of needing to end a run between 500-550 meters. Gah, I haven’t even mentioned that all the coins you collect can be spent to upgrade the vehicles and buy new jetpacks, single-use items, and costumes for Mr. Steakfries. I honestly don’t know how they can put all this stuff in Jetpack Joyride for a buck, but I know you should buy it.
Outstanding | Very Good | Fair | Poor | Awful
Recommended Buy Price: $0.99
Current MSRP: $0.99
Jetpack Joyride was provided for review by Halfbrick Studios. I’ve played the game for three and a half hours accumulating 15 out of 30 Achievements.