Hands On: Jetpack Joyride (iOS)

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.

[drop]Plot?  Your hero’s broken into a top secret lab and stolen the eponymous jetpack – see the video for ‘more’.  Controls?  You touch the screen to activate the boosters, propelling Big Baz upwards.


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.



  1. Looks great!! It’s live now, though only by searching “Halfbrick” on the App Store (no results by searching “Jetpack Joyride”)

  2. Downloaded and had a few plays. Seems really great so far. Halfbrick have done it again with this one.

  3. Sounds good, don’t have an idevice, but might suggest it to friends that do..

  4. Ok, I’ll pick it up.

  5. Their previous Steakfries game, Monster Dash is now available on the chrome web-store. Hopefully this will be too at some point, for those of us that don’t have an iDevice.

  6. Sold!

  7. age of zombies was awesome, but the ios games starring barry don’t really appeal to me.
    maybe they’re fun but they seem a bit simplistic to me.
    i’ve never been a big fan of these auto running games anyway.
    though the mirror’s edge game for the ios was pretty decent.

    i wonder why they changed the name though.
    what was wrong with machinegun jetpack?

  8. Wow I missed this article a couple of weeks back, just found it from here. This looks brilliant, downloading now.

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