Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPod touch 4
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After playing Jetpack Joyride, I am convinced that I know how the Halfbrick development process works. The first step is to come up with an awesomely ludicrous idea, like a ninja that slices fruit, or a dual-stick shooter featuring a zombie T-Rex, or in this case, a game featuring a machine gun jetpack. Step two is to then go out and make the idea play as exceptionally as possible. Jetpack Joyride follows this brilliant formula to a T.
The basic gameplay has players holding down on the screen to use the jetpack strapped to recurring Halfbrick protagonist Barry Steakfries, which propels them upward. Players try to get as far as possible, avoiding lasers and missiles while trying to collect coins, tokens, and vehicle powerups. Coins can be used to buy new outfits, new jetpacks, vehicle upgrades, and single-use items for getting a 750m head start, blasting for a little extra distance after death, or reviving instantly, though that Quick Revive costs a king's ransom. Players can also buy coins through in-app purchases, or even just an instant coin value doubler for $0.99.
This game is supremely addictive; I found this extraordinarily difficult to put down for just 'one more' session that quickly would turn into a couple dozen more. The mission system helps to make even subpar sessions productive, as completing tasks gives the player stars that go towards the player's rank, which also means more money for the player that goes toward unlocking more of the game's content. When the maximum rank is achieved, the player can start over, providing even more excuses to play more Jetpack Joyride! The game's whimsical style only makes things more entertaining, particularly when high-fiving scientists is an objective, and when the "Profit Bird" vehicle is being flown around, with money falling everywhere it flies. It's a sly piece of commentary on games with birds in them on the App Store, though coming from the developer of Fruit Ninja, it's kind of like millionaires complaining about billionaires.
This is a game very heavily impacted by luck; sometimes obstacles will be just in the way with seemingly impossible to time avoidance windows. As well, high score runs will almost seemingly require the Quick Revive which either costs 10,000 coins per use, or requires a lucky spin in Final Spin. Luck can benefit the player or hinder them, but it is always a factor, for better or for worse.
This is one of my favorite iOS games in recent memory, and one of the best endless games on the App Store. I cannot stress how highly I recommend this game, and I will keep playing it long after this review is finished.