Surprisingly, flying with a jetpack powered by a pair of mini-guns strapped to your back is not even remotely the most enjoyable thing about Jetpack Joyride. The iOS game from Halfbrick Studios, creators of Fruit Ninja, is one of the most refreshingly simple and unexpectedly replayable downloadable games for Apple devices.
Macho mascot Barry Steakfries, star of Halfbrick Studios games Age of Zombies and Monster Dash, returns in Jetpack Joyride, a one-button action platformer. You control Mr. Steakfries in a conveyor belt-style side-scroller, flying up and down with the power of a jetpack, avoiding obstacles, dodging missiles, collecting coins and, well, doing a lot more.
Normally, Barry will have the power of a jetpack at his disposal. But you'll also have access to a number of vehicles during your run: a gravity flipping super suit, the Bad Ass Hog (a chopper, baby), the Lil' Stomper mech and the Profit Bird, a personal aircraft that looks suspiciously like the Opa-Opa from Fantasy Zone and a flying teleportation pod.
At first blush, it would seem that the goal in Jetpack Joyride is to maximize one's run, a la one-button platformer Canabalt. Sure, yeah, I guess that's a goal. You're regularly reminded of your lengthiest run in Jetpack Joyride at the beginning of each attempt.
But Jetpack Joyride consistently feeds players new goals, missions and challenges at the player. You'll have three "Missions" available to you at all times, missions that involve the collecting of coins, narrowly dodging missiles, high-fiving the scientists you pass during your attempted escape from the Jetpack Joyride facility. Complete each mission to level up, earn a little cash. There's always some new and fresh to do in Jetpack Joyride. There's always a reason to play just one more round.
One more reason to play Jetpack Joyride again and again is its long list of unlockables. The coins you collect in-game can be spent on cosmetic items for Barry and his vehicles as well as new jetpacks. Bubble jetpacks. Rainbow jetpacks. You can also drop coins on consumable items and spend real-world cash, microtransaction-style, on coins to upgrade all of these items faster. It may say something of Jetpack Joyride that I found its in-game purchasing options reasonable and fair.
Look, there's a whole lot to like about Jetpack Joyride. It's immediately addictive, controls beautifully and radiates a certain charm. For pick up and play fun, I can't recommend Jetpack Joyride enough.
Jetpack Joyride for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad will set you back 99 cents American.
Jetpack Joyride [iTunes]