Developer | Halfbrick Studios
Publisher | Halfbrick Studios/SONY
Genre | Arcade
Platform | PS Vita/PlayStation Mobile
Release | Out now
If you own an iPhone or any other Apple device, you’ve probably heard of Jetpack Joyride. Head over to Metacritic and you’ll see that the game achieved favourable reviews across the board from critics and gamers alike, and after playing the PS Vita version, it’s easy to see why.
Jetpack Joyride is a side scrolling shooter, but not in the usual sense. Rather than using the analogue sticks to move along the level(s), the game is always moving for you – you have no control over which direction you want to move in, apart from up or down. In fact, the game only has one control, and that’s the X button – it’s as simple as it gets, but oh so enjoyable. By holding down the X button, your character moves up the screen with his jetpack, shooting bullets below him at scientists. The point is to get as many coins as you can and progress as far in the level as you can without being destroyed by the barricades. Maneuvering up and down might sound basic, and it is, but that doesn’t stop it from being extremely addictive.
There are ten environments for you to fly around which pop up at random, but where the game really switches things up is the power ups – by hitting certain orbs you get to transform into a whole host of wacky machines from motorbikes to flying birds. At the end of each session you get a chance to win some cool items in a spin the wheel-esque mini-game. It’s all based on luck, but you seem to win more than you don’t. After that though, you can visit “The Stash” which is where all the cool stuff happens. The thing with arcade games is (and the problem with most of them) – you need lots of longevity and replay value to keep the player coming back. Jetpack Joyride not only succeeds that criteria by being an extremely addicting “just one more go” sort of game, but it exceeds it by offering up tons and tons of unlockable content in the form of The Stash. By collecting coins during levels, you can buy all sorts of upgrades from The Stash from different appearances for your character to whole new jetpacks! Most cost you a lot of coins – this is a free-to-play game we’re talking about here, meaning that if you don’t want to spend any real money you’ll have to play the game a lot but that’s no problem thanks to the sheer quality of the game.
It’s hard to fault it, and when asked about negatives, I’m not sure how to respond. The cartoon presentation is fitting, there’s a heck of a lot of replay value, the gameplay is extremely simple yet extremely effective, the loading times are.. well there aren’t any, and there’s a whole host of new ideas for the side-scrolling genre. If I had to knit-pick, it would be the soundtrack. The single song is very electronic and works really well with the rest of the game, but it is the only song in the game – so if you’re planning on spending a lot of time with Jetpack Joyride, you’re going to have that one tune stuck in your head for a while. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it would’ve been nice to hear a bigger variety of tunes.
But don’t let that put you off – Jetpack Joyride is an absolute must for any PS Vita owner and could have you addicted for hours on end. What’s that, your memory cards full? Delete everything on it – this is worth it. You don’t want to dig into your wallet? Fear not – Jetpack Joyride is free and it’s awesome. We can’t recommend it enough. Get.
[box style='success'] Extremely addictive [/box]
[box style='success'] It couldn’t be more accessible [/box]
[box style='success'] Hours of replay value [/box]
[box style='success'] It’s free – that’s the best price for games [/box]
[box style='warning'] Another few songs please? [/box]
[box style='info'] The Verdict: Jetpack Joyride is one of the best experiences on PlayStation Vita/Mobile. There’s no excuse not to buy it and play it for weeks. [highlight style='pear-green'] 9.7/10 [/highlight] [/box]