Halfbrick have an almost unrivalled knack of creating some the most playable portable games on the planet. Monster Dash showed that you can have an ‘endless runner’ with bags of charm, Age of Zombies turned the survival genre into a glorious display of pixel art and Fruit Ninja proved that chopping up food could be as addictive as eating the stuff – compulsive gamers beware, Jetpack Joyride is easily their best game yet.
And yes, Barry Steakfries is back. Read that again with Hollywood Trailer Guy’s voice – Barry Steakfries is back.
The hook? By virtue of a certain amount of randomness, some inventive vehicles (Profit Bird FTW) the presence of lots of coins to collect (and things to spend them on) and an ever increasingly tricky pile of superbly integrated mini-missions, Jetpack Joyride sucks you in and spits you out about three hours later than you expected.
It’s like side-scrolling heaven, the utterly simple control system (seriously, just one big fat iPhone screen-sized button) hiding all manner of subtlety whilst scientists, rockets and environmental dangers whizz past at increasingly rapid rates.
You can’t slow down, you can’t turn around, all you can do is aim for the cash that litters the levels and avoid the nasties. The vehicles you collect act as a sort of shield (as well as putting spins on the controls and physics) but otherwise it’s one hit kills – how far can you get?[videoyoutube]So what puts this above the rest? It’s not like the App Store isn’t already filled with stuff like this, right? Well, there isn’t anything that can offer up a post-game slot machine that grants special powers, or a packed store with all kinds of bonus items and cameo costumes, or Tiny Wings like sub missions that promote different gameplay and an RPG-lite levelling system.
And nothing else looks as utterly gorgeous as Jetpack Joyride anyway, the backgrounds constantly changing, the graphics brilliantly animated.
Jetpack Joyride’s 69p. A dollar. Yes, there are in-game purchases if you want to get lots of coins in exchange for some real-life cash, but they’re not in your face and easily avoided. Seriously, if you have an iPhone (or an iPod/iPad, of course) you really, really want this in your life.
Despite the singular core mechanic it never gets boring, there’s always more stuff to do and stats fans will adore the fact that everything they do is quantifiable and logged. It’s easily Halfbrick’s best game, and it’s out today. Get it.