Jetpack Joyride is a simple story of a man and his jetpack as told by the official trailer at developer Halfbrick. It’s a simple game, but one that appears to be laced with crack cocaine since once you pick it up hours go by without you realizing it. I actually downloaded it right after Christmas when they were offering it for free and this is the first chance I’ve had to actually review it. I’ve beaten the damn thing four times already.
At its core the game is a classic run and jump style side scrolling romp where the protagonist must continually head left avoiding obstacles and collecting loot and temporary power-ups. Of course in this case your jumping involves a variety of jetpacks, the first one made of machine guns. And your power-ups run the gamut from a suped-up Harley to a flying mechanical dragon. Which you use to avoid electrical zapper walls and random missiles and laser beams.
Beyond the trailer there is no plot to speak of, but really when you have a game as quirky and fun as this plot kind of steps aside anyways. It’s a fast paced romp where each run is likely to last no more than a minute or two and where they often last no more than a few seconds. Barry dies in a single hit unless he’s riding a power-up, and assuming you’ve obtained some tokens for the Slot Machine of Death you do have a chance at a 1-up. Otherwise once you’ve been zapped, fried, or blown up its game over and another chance to see Barry explode through the wall, scoop up his jetpack, and cause another round of chaos through the lab.
The controls are likely the simplest you will ever see, touch the screen to fire the jetpack, let go to drop to the ground. One finger controls the whole game, so the learning curve is pretty damn simple. To make up for this simplistic gameplay and keep you from getting bored you constantly have a trio of mini missions to tackle that range from reaching a certain distance, to tagging a number of scientists, or simply collecting coins. As you go along the missions get tougher and the runs can get pretty intense as you try to accomplish them. You also get a chance to spend all your hard earned coins in a place called The Stash, which is loaded with new costumes for Barry, new bizarre jetpacks like the fruit launcher and the rainbow. You can also 1-ups or other one time use boosts to aid you.
This is a truly great game, and one I recommend to anyone with a apple device without reservation. It is currently $0.99 so it’s not going to break the bank, and I promise you will get your money’s worth. Just make sure you don’t have anything important to do for awhile, because the game will suck you in.