|Genre||Run, jump, and jet|
|Buy from Amazon|
I read a complaint recently that most Android and iOS action games are just glorified quick time events, touching the screen at the right time to jump or fly or shoot. This is almost certainly true for a game like Temple Run, where your character auto-runs and you quickly flick the screen to react to obstacles and collect more coins. The same could probably also be said for Jetpack Joyride, where the game’s single input turns your character’s jetpack on, releasing turns it off. To some people, this isn’t compelling gaming at all, and I understand that, but for whatever reason, I get hooked on these little games with simple short term objectives but no real long term goals.
What do you do in Jetpack Joyride? Fly as far as you can? Yeah, I guess that’s maybe the point. Collect coins to buy more things? That’s always fun, sure. Complete objectives and achievements? Sometimes a nice diversion, okay. Now that you’ve done all those things for hours, are you any closer to “beating” the game? Probably not.
Someone more pessimistic than me may suggest the real point of the game is to bewitch you with expensive in-game upgrades to trick you into spending real money on fake coins to make a tidy profit. This is certainly a possibility, heck, app development usually isn’t very altruistic, but if I can have a fun without spending money, have I beaten the system, or simply enjoyed a video game?
Jetpack Joyride stars Barry Steakfries, a manly man who bursts through the wall of some kind of science facility, steals a jetpack, and wrecks havoc for the next 200 to infinity meters as he auto-runs from left to right, slowly speeding up. Barry can jet up, or fall down, that’s it. Left and right isn’t even an option. Temporary vehicles show up every once in a while to inject a little extra craziness into the game, but take one hit and you’re back to just Barry, another hit ends your run.
What sets Jetpack Joyride apart from games like Temple Run or Canabalt are the ever-present missions. At all times, three objectives will be available to you, such as ride the Profit Bird for 500 meters, high-five 50 scientists, or narrowly miss five missiles. Completing missions earns stars, which in turn goes towards leveling up. Level up 15 times and you’ve “beaten” the game (probably along the lines of completing about 50 missions), but you’re encouraged to keep right on playing and “prestige” your rank to try another set of missions.
Coins collected can be used to buy equippable items that let Barry jump higher, magnetize coins, shoo away missiles, and many more. You can only equip two items at a time, so mixing and matching different combinations is advisable depending on what mission you’re attempting to complete. I personally like items that help me earn more tokens, which can be spent in a slot machine after the run for the potential to earn big cash and other prizes.
It’s all a rat race though, collecting more coins lets you buy more items which may make collecting more coins easier. In the end, you’re only playing because the next mission is there, not because you want to crack 10,000 meters. I find it slightly disappointing that neither Temple Run or Jetpack Joyride have any kind of true ending.
I don’t regret my time with this game as much as I do with some mobile titles, Temple Run included. Jetpack Joyride is solid fun that rewards you at every turn. It can be mildly challenging at times, but is really just an enjoyable distraction.