Tag: Jetpack Joyride »
The holiday season is upon us, and Australian developers Halfbrick have decided to make their complete iOS catalogue free for a limited time to celebrate. Listed below are the games on sale, listed the only way games should at this time of year: to the tune of 'Deck the Halls.'
Deck the Halls with Age of Zombies,
Fa la la la la la la la la.
'Tis the season to Fruit Ninja,
Fa la la la la la la la la.
Troul the Fish Out Of Water!,
Fa la la la la la la la la.
See the Monster Dash before us,
Fa la la la la la la la la.
Strike the harp and join the Colossatron,
Fa la la la la la la la la.
All of these are free for now,
Fa la la la la la la la la.
The Best App Ever Awards have been around ever since ever since the App Store first came into being five years ago. Each year the best of the best have been culled from hundreds (even thousands) of releases. This list represents five years worth of winners, as decided by Best App Ever readers. Five years worth of apps and games that have been chosen above all others due to their all-around awesomeness. Five of the Best Apps Ever.
Here they are.
Shazam (Shazam Entertainment)
A lot of people were pretty excited when the iPhone first came out, and it was apps like Shazam that helped to keep them that way. In a time when smartphones were being scoffed at, being able to hold your phone up to a speaker and have it identify whatever song is currently playing was pretty freaking impressive. It goes so far beyond kitschy stuff like virtual lighters or photo booths. This is an app that serves an incredibly useful purpose; especially for those of us who enjoy finding new music.
2008 was the App Store’s first year, and even then there was no shortage of great apps and games for iOS users to enjoy. The likes of eWallet, Fieldrunners, Facebook, and Rolando were all exemplary nominees. However, in the end they just weren’t able to compete with the ability to identify any song that’s playing on the radio, in a store, or wherever else. It’s simply too handy.
Pocket God (Bolt Creative)
I don’t want to be presumptuous, but Bolt Creative may very well be responsible for creating the current “Feel like something’s missing? Wait for an update!” environment that has overtaken the App Store. With 47 (47!!!) episodes released to date, Pocket God is just might be the most thoroughly supported app in the world. This funky sandbox of wrongness has seen so many tweaks and changes over the years that it provides users with mini-games that cover almost every single popular genre on the App Store.
2009 was very close, but Pocket God managed to take first place over apps like 2Do and Twitter, and some wonderful games like Real Racing and Flight Control. Perhaps it was due to all the diversity inherent in all those episodes, or maybe people just really like torturing small virtual islanders. Whatever the reason, Bolt Creative captured a lot of hearts (and probably zapped them with lightning or tossed them to the sharks) that year.
Angry Birds (Rovio Entertainment Ltd)
Say and think what you will about Angry Birds and its current cultural phenomenon status; it’s still a clever game. Rovio’s little physics puzzler that could took the App Store by storm and has continued to do so with multiple spin-offs. Often duplicated, never replicated, this little bird-chucking game has solidified the genre as something synonymous with mobile gaming. There’s even one version that uses the “Star Wars” license. Honestly, there aren’t many other iOS games that can make that claim, and even fewer that aren’t directly affiliated with Lucasarts one way or another.
2010 saw the inclusion of a number of fantastic iOS games to the awards. Games like Infinity Blade, Real Racing 2, and Solipskier are all wonderful in their own right. That makes it all the more impressive so see them, and second place nominee Pocket Legends get edged out by a game about loading birds into a slingshot. Don’t underestimate the power of simple yet addictive gameplay.
Jetpack Joyride (Halfbrick Studios)
Barry Steakfries wasn’t new to the App Store when Jetpack Joyride was released, but it is the game that cemented his mobile celebrity status. Barry’s hijacking of a jetpack made of machine guns wasn’t exactly groundbreaking in terms of gameplay (think a hybrid of endless runners and classic corridor flying games like Copter), but Halfbrick polished the heck out of all the mechanics and absolutely overloaded it with personality. To this day it’s still one of the best examples of “just one more try” games on iOS.
2011 was a great year for iOS gamers. Infinity Blade II, World of Goo, Tiny Tower, Where’s My Water, and a whole lot more all made the list. To see little ol’ Barry with his impossible flying machine sitting above them all is a great indication of just how powerful and compulsive an extremely well-made endless game can be. Especially on a mobile platform.
Walking Dead: The Game (Telltale Games)
Telltale’s adventure games have been a bit hit-and-miss over the years, but pretty much everyone felt The Walking Dead was a major hit. Lee’s tale won over many a stone-hearted gamer, and the iOS release more or less cemented Apple’s mobile devices as viable gaming platforms. Making the tough choices isn’t any easier when it’s on a smaller screen, that’s for sure.
2012 was another great year; with games like Punch Quest and Outwitters, and apps like Clear and Action Movie FX narrowly edged out. It’s a testament to how far the App Store has come to see so many great and diverse offerings listed. And it’s a testament to Telltale Games’ ability to craft an incredible story about equally incredible characters to see Walking Dead: The Game come out on top.
The long-awaited Jetpack Joyride 1.3 update is here. We've been teasing it for months now, but now it's finally available. Yes, the world can now finally use gadgets in order to help get higher scores. Hang out near the top too much? Use the Gravity Belt to help fall faster, though they may make it more difficult to stay up in the air. Want to travel farther at the end of a game? Then use Insta-Ball to bounce around in a ball after death. Really, really hate those scientists? Use Nerd Repellant to replace them with cobwebs and tumbleweeds. Want to make more money? Use the Gemology gadget to enable special gems worth extra coins that pop up in the coin formations. Certain gadget combinations have special names to them: Insta-Ball plus Gravity Belt equals Serious Bounce, for example.
The update also features a nice tweak for frequent users of the cloud save functionality, as the game now says when and from what device the cloud save is from, assuming that doesn't match the current device's save file. It's a nice addition designed to make picking the more advanced save easier. The free update is available now.
Jetpack Joyride's 1.3 update is still in the works, and Halfbrick continues to roll out teaser trailers showing off some of the new gadgets that will be made available. The latest animated teaser is for the Gravity Belt. While its effects are still somewhat unknown, it appears as if gravity will greatly increase while using this belt. Will this make it easier to fall to the floor when up high, helping those runs go up even longer? We'll soon learn just what exactly it does, as the update is scheduled to hit this month. The only other of the 15 total gadgets revealed so far are the Air Barrys and the Freeze-O-Matic, each with their own teaser trailer. Any two Gadgets will be usable together, though they will unlock in tiers of three each. So until this major update finally hits, keep collecting those coins, and get ready for the Gadget onslaught.
Halfbrick’s mega-hit Jetpack Joyride is getting a major update in the coming weeks that will bring some big changes to the gameplay. As shown to us at GDC by Halbrick’s Phil Larsen, the game is adding Gadgets. These will be items that can be used in order to bring new skills to the game. For example, one of the initial items, the Air Barrys, can be used to jump off the ground higher, about halfway up. There’s the ability to ride Mr. Cuddles at the start of the game, bursting out of the wall at the beginning, with the new Free Ride powerup. The Ezy-Dodge missiles make for easier obstacles to dodge, as per their name. Powerups will be tiered, where multiple in a tier must be bought before the new tier is available, and two powerups are available to be activated at a time. The 1.3 update is scheduled to hit in April, and we have screens and a trailer for the game. As well, Halfbrick are working on animated shorts like the game’s launch trailer to comically flesh out the story of the lab and its origins.
There was a vast profusion of cool stuff happening across the 148Apps network this week, but the top of the top was the culmination of our 2011 Best App Ever awards. Head honcho Jeff Scott writes, "It was an amazing year. With over 1.5 million votes cast (over three times the number cast last year) and a record number of nominations, we now have the winners of the 2011 Best App Ever Awards. Thanks to all that voted, nominated, and made these fantastic apps!"
Kid-friendly GiggleApps featured a review of Fun Clock-Learn to Tell Time. Reviewer Amy Solomon writes, "Few apps actually tackle explaining the true concept of telling time they way this app does. After watching the included video in Fun Clock – Learn to Tell Time, children will be will well on their way to understanding how to read a analogue clock. As a parent, I don’t think I could have explained this better myself, also wishing that this video had been around when I was a child."
Take the time to read the full review on GiggleApps.
Finally, over at Android Rundown, Carter Dotson took a closer look at Apple's recent iBooks education initiative and evaluated it for what it could mean for the Android platform. Dotson writes, "It may not have been the sexiest announcement, but Android supporters – manufacturers and users alike – should not underestimate Apple’s education gambit. Their big push into education with iBooks 2 being optimized for textbooks (both the reading and selling thereof) and iTunes U offering deeper integration with college courses could be the necessary roots they have to lay down for long-term success at the expense of Android."
Read the full commentary on Android Rundown.
And that's the week that was. Don't forget to read a full list of Best App Ever winners at www.bestappever.com, and keep following us on Twitter and Facebook for all the contests, news and reviews you can eat. I'll be playing Jetpack Joyride non-stop until next week, but I'll see you back here then.
The votes have been tallied and the people have spoken. Jetpack Joyride is 2011's Best App Ever.
Halfbrick's latest title was one of the most-hyped iOS games of the year: we were reporting on it back in March when the game was originally known as Machine Gun Jetpack. Back then, the concept was the same: Halfbrick protagonist Barry Steakfries flies at a high speed through tunnels on a jetpack that fires bullets so quickly that it propels him upward. It's the kind of concept that's completely ludicrous but instantly intriguing. After all, when it was just a powerup in Monster Dash, it was entertaining enough, but now a full game is built around it? That's exciting. Afterward, the game became more extensive, adding a variety of new jetpacks and powerups along with the eponymous jetpack.
This is why the game was so extensively covered on the site, making a pre-release post announcement, and then running a 5-star, Editor's Choice review on launch day when the game came out. The game was talked about on The Portable Podcast multiple times, with glowing praise. Finally, we named it one of our top games of the year.
So what made Jetpack Joyride such a hit? Maybe it is that the game is extremely easy to get into. The controls require no real explanation, just tap to go upward, let go to go downward. No virtual buttons were necessary at all, just tap anywhere on the screen. It works perfectly on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
But it's also the way that it compels players to keep playing that makes it so addictive. The objectives compel players to play the game in a particular way, and to make a specific session have a goal to it, from trying to skim so many red lights, to running on the ground for so long. They introduce variety to a game where the goal is the same each time out: get as far as possible without dying.
Jetpack Joyride's use of currency is also especially modern: gaining coins for upgrades and new costumes is something that a variety of games are doing now, but is one that Jetpack Joyride excels at. There are the different levels of items to buy, from the simple costumes and jetpacks to buy (who doesn't love a Fruit Ninja-inspired jetpack?), to upgrades for the powerup vehicles, to finally the extra-distance bombs and second chance lives for high rollers. These generally require money to purchase reliably, but they can be earned in the game itself through the tokens collected and used in the slot machine.
In many ways, the game is about luck, as sometimes a high score requires that a second chance be earned in the slot machine, or a powerup be earned at the right time, or even just that a laser barrier show up a pixel later in order for the player to not die. It can be frustrating, but the fact that luck could easily turn back in the player's favor is part of what makes chasing that high score so gratifying.
But if all these secondary elements were taken away, if there was only one jetpack and no upgrades, no coins, nothing but pure skill involved, then it would still be one of the best games of the year. It's just that simple to get in to, and that desire to play just one more time, dive into just one more session is based not just on a desire to earn more coins, it's because the game is fun at the heart of it. Plenty of games have snazzy costumes and upgrades to unlock, but they aren't as addictive as this one is.
In many ways, the success of Jetpack Joyride is exactly like how Fruit Ninja has succeeded from a gameplay standpoint. Both are games that are not limited by the touchscreen, as both use direct input for control. Fruit Ninja has 1:1 actions with the tracing finger on the screen, and Jetpack Joyride responds whenver the finger is on the screen. They are not held back by the need for virtual buttons, and that direct user interaction is part of why the games have been such smash successes, and why people voted Jetpack Joyride 2011's Best App Ever.
In fact, the success of Jetpack Joyride is currently resonating throughout the App Store. Games like Sea Stars and Seal Force both take obvious direct inspiration from Jetpack Joyride in not just gameplay but in structure. The endless runner is certainly very popular nowadays too, as Temple Run's current success attests to.
I personally have had great experiences with the game. I first got to play it about a week before it released, which was also a day I had jury duty on. Jury duty was not very fun, but getting to play Jetpack Joyride during any chance I had to take a break? My growing addiction to the game was probably more memorable about that day than being selected for a long trial. It's the power of gaming, and it's the fun that a game like Jetpack Joyride can provide that can be memorable, and it's why it is a worthy choice as Best App Ever of 2011.
You're the best around! No one's ever gonna keep you down!
On This Episode:
Who We Are:
How to Listen:
Apps Mentioned on This Episode:
Part One: Games 16 - 25
In what was another fantastic year in the world of iOS apps & games, we are here to bring you the fifty titles that we, the staff of 148Apps, thought were the best of the year. Here are the gaming titles 6 - 15 in our Best Games of 2011:
15. Temple Run: There are typically two kinds of endless games: the horizontal endless runners, and the vertical endless jumpers. Well, here's the third kind: running into the screen, moving left to right, making swift decisions to avoid obstacles or turn in the correct direction. The originality was well-appreciated, and the game is quite fun, to boot. With its shift to free to play, it also serves as one of the best examples of how to do this business model in a fair way.
14. Scribblenauts Remix: When the first Scribblenauts game came out on the Nintendo DS in 2009, I immediately thought that with the need to type things in, and constant touchscreen usage, that it would work perfectly on the finger-friendly capacative touch screen of iOS devices. I am proud to report 2 years later that I was right. The puzzle platforming game where the items can be created from a vast dictionary of items, and modified with a series of adjectives, is as entertaining as ever, and is right at home on iOS.
13. Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing - When Sega puts their full effort into a project, the quality really comes through. It's a serviceable kart racer with the standard weapons and powerups available, with great controls and a useful turbo boost mechanic. That it's on iOS gives it a lot of points where on other platforms it might just be another fun kart racer, but the fact is that this is a really good game, with top of the line features for iOS, even with a fun online multiplayer mode, which is something that is still always cool to check out on the platform. As well, the Sega fan service is part of the fun, too - racing through a Jet Set Radio series level while piloting a rocket piloted by a ChuChu from ChuChu Rocket feels more special than racing any Mario character at this point.
12. Whale Trail: 2011 was a great year for endearing protagonists and endless runner games. Whale Trail was one of the true gems of the year, as it was a beautifully-designed game: the art was top-notch, the music composed by Gruff Rhys helped create a magical and whimsical world, and the gameplay was forgiving, but rewarded precision. The new challenge mode adds a new wrinkle to the game, as it provides short challenge levels that focus on skillful navigation of set levels, instead of randomly-generated endless levels.
11. Super Crossfire - When I was helping to compile this list from 148Apps' writers, one title kept recurring in the lists: this Chillingo-published shmup. It was one of my favorites as well; being able to flip sides in this Space Invaders-esque game that also boasts super attacks was an ingenious twist. The controls worked very well for a touch screen, the upgrade system was simple but provided a great way to feel more powerful as the game went on. It's a time-tested genre with some modern twists, and it works perfectly.
10. Dead Space - EA did the smart thing in bringing this horror shooter to iOS. They built the game for the platform - they optimized the controls and gameplay to work even with the touch screen involved. This is something that even games designed for the platform fail to keep in mind, and Dead Space just about nailed it. It became a must-play for fans of the franchise by being an original story, as well; it also managed to create a scary atmosphere even on a 3.5 inch screen, though playing on the iPad was definitely quite the experience.
9. iBlast Moki 2 - Each little puzzle in this game is like part of a delicate machine. The solution may be to move a bomb just a couple pixels to the left, or to set it off a 20th of a second later. When this game gets going, it requires the kind of planning, and intellectual approach that a game like Angry Birds, which does rely a lot on the physical act of using the trebuchet to launch the birds, cannot provide. There is nothing quite so satisfying as watching the little Rube Goldberg machine I've constructed of bombs launching fuzzy little creatures around succeed just as I planned, after so many tweaks. The fact that the game also comes with a level editor so robust that Godzilab themselves made all the levels in the game with it is just icing on the cake.
8. Death Rally - Oh, look, it's an isometric racing game with combat. How novel, said the liar. Well, it's free, I might as well check it out. Hey, this is pretty fun. These upgraded weapons are pretty cool. I can race against Duke Nukem? How cool. I really want to beat the Adversary, but I need to race him perfectly. Just one more run, and I've got him. Okay, that was challenging, but I finally did it! Well, that was a novel use of a few minutes...wait, where did my afternoon go? Didn't I have things I was going to do? Whoops. Guess I'll just play some more.
7. Jetpack Joyride: My first extended experience with this game was the day I had to report for jury duty. That day was long, as I had to go through an extensive jury selection process for an important trial. I had plenty of downtime outside of that, and pretty much all of it was spent playing this game. One session turned into another, and then another, and then just one more to try to collect the coins to unlock that new jetpack, or that new outfit. It was some of the most fun any person has ever had on a day where they've been selected for a lengthy trial.
6. NBA Jam: The problem with bringing a lot of retro titles to iOS is the touch screen. Virtual buttons and joysticks are something that people still have problems with, but I myself have gotten used to them and just want people to stop griping about them. However, there is one glaring problem: any game that uses more than 2 buttons that need to be pressed regularly run into issues. The lack of muscle memory for where physical buttons are makes this a hassle. NBA Jam solved this by using a sliding mechanic - there's a turbo button in the bottom right corner, pass button to the left, shoot button above. Sliding from turbo to pass or shoot when needed was simple, and it solved the three-button issue in a way that allowed this game to work its magic on iOS. And really, because the game had both been out of regular circulation in gaming for long enough to feel fresh again, and because its core mechanics were just fantastical enough to work without much tweaking in the modern day, this was just a ton of fun to play on iOS.
Come back on Friday to see the games we selected as the top 5 games of the year 2011.
We took just enough time out of our Jetpack Joyride playing schedules to bring you this podcast.
On This Episode:
Who We Are:
How to Listen:
Apps Mentioned in this Episode: