The good people at Halfbrick Studios are masters of the one-touch. Take one look at their catalogue of games and you will see they pretty much all involve action that’s accomplished with just one finger. Whether you’re slashing fruit in half in Fruit Ninja, or controlling Barry Steakfries in one of his adventures, there remains a constant throughout - ‘ol Mr. Pointer.
That expertise continues with Jetpack Joyride, a platforming masterpiece that offers perhaps the most fun you can possibly have with one finger. Halfbrick accomplished something special when they put the finishing touches on this entertaining platformer.
Like in its predecessor Monster Dash, this game puts you back in control of Halbrick’s stout, stubbled mascot, Barry Steakfries. But instead of running through monsters or gunning down zombies like in Age of Zombies, Barry straps on a machine-gun jetpack with one goal in mind: escape!
Every time you start a new game, it starts out with Barry blasting through a wall in the secret testing laboratory where the jetpack is being worked on. From there, your goal is to last as long as you possibly can, rocketing up and down by tapping the screen, dodging all manner of obstacles that come at you with increasing speed. The farther you make it, the faster your reaction time will have to be. Simple enough, right? From that basic concept, Halfbrick manages to build layer upon satisfying layer of different elements to help make this game super addicting.
For starters, the play controls are incredibly well programmed. Everything feels solid and well-constructed. The better you get at controlling Barry, the better you can narrowly avoid hurtling missiles and electric barriers with nothing but a feather touch. If Halfbrick considers Barry their Mario, they’re certainly living up to that lofty standard with tight iOS play control that’s worthy of Nintendo’s Italian plumber.
In addition to great play control, Jetpack Joyride is filled with tons of fun elements that add to the core gaming experience. Machine-gun jetpack not enough for you? Halfbrick has five extra vehicles you are randomly awarded with that give you a boost, including a metal dragon and a motorcycle/shotgun combo that’s straight out of Terminator 2.
There are plenty of things to unlock, including different gadgets (robo-dogs! spring shoes!) and vehicle upgrades. All of this revolves around a coin-collecting system. In addition to trying to jetpack as far as you can, you also want to try and get as many coins as you can before Barry’s inevitable crash and burn. Often times you will have to make the choice between taking a risk and going for a big, juicy row of coins, or playing it safe and avoiding trouble to continue your run.
The more coins you get, the more you can invest in cool stuff for Barry. I would recommend spending your first treasure hauls on gadgets that make Barry better at gathering coins, so you can fill up your coiffers faster each time. Make a run through a level with the coin magnet and double-coin perks enabled and you will be rolling in no time.
There are also mini-missions in-between levels that give you small, really specific goals to accomplish - high fiving 20 scientists, narrowly avoiding 10 missiles, or flying for exactly 550 metres. These mini-mission objectives are great because they help spread out the action and make it feel like you don’t have to try and accomplish the same thing every time. For instance, you could have a really short run, but take care a number of mini-missions in one swoop, depending on what they are.
Jetpack Joyride is a game that you will come back to again and again once you get started. Much like the pacing of a given run, the more you play, the faster and better you get. I was even convinced that I could land jackpots at will on the slot machine. Double coins, baby! Like any great gaming experience, there’s a constant “ahhh, just one more” feeling after every run. It can be pretty hard to put down, especially if you’re going for that next gadget to unlock. If you are looking for a good iOS platforming experience, it’s hard to find a better one than Jetpack Joyride.