Jetpack Joyride (Win 8) Review by ZX KNIGHT

25 Dec 2012 25 Dec 2012
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Jetpack Joyride is a variation on the ‘endless run’ style of games that are becoming ever more popular nowadays. It has considerable added-complexity to say, Canabalt, including a jet pack that fires bullets so already you can see it’s made some vast improvements.

Graphically it harks back to the 16-bit arcade style of the early 1990s, although it’s not particularly ‘retro’ in any other respect. A Windows Phone 8 version has recently been announced (it's already on iOS) and it is perfectly suited to mobile and tablet gaming. Thankfully the controls are simple even using a mouse or keyboard so if you have a laptop you’ll still get a lot out of this game.

As the name suggests, your method of travel is, for the most part, a jet pack, which propels you forward endlessly as you press the screen/mouse/keyboard to fly up or control your fall to avoid the obstacles and collect the coins. Your jet pack also comes with a handy machine gun which you use to shoot fleeing scientists running aimlessly beneath you.

The plot, such as it is, seems to imply you have burst into a science lab of some sort and stolen their jet pack, as scientists flee before you as you try to escape the endless compound, alternating between warehouses, corridors and tropical forest backgrounds.

It has 200G worth of achievements and unlike some of the other free Xbox LIVE games on Windows 8, they are well thought out and not token gestures. They do, though, follow the usual pattern for a game like this in that they encourage you to buy various items from the store, collect this and that and generally experience every aspect the game has to offer.

The store, or ‘Stash’, as it is called in the game, allows you to buy upgrades, one-off special items, or new jet packs that give you special powers, all using coins that you collect while playing the game. It’s pretty standard stuff nowadays but it is well implemented and although you can purchase extra coins with real money it has a good balance between trying to encourage you to do so and not blatantly trying to rip you off like some developers seem to do.

While Jetpack Joyride doesn’t necessarily break any new ground, it is a slick package that effectively uses all the features this type of game can have, including missions to provide different targets while playing the game, upgrades to purchase in the store and coins to collect, creating an enjoyable and addictive arcade experience.

The Live Tile utilisation is one of the best of the free Xbox LIVE games released on Windows 8, flipping between your best score and distance and various missions the game sets you to progress in rank.

If you try to play the game without being connected to the internet then you won’t be able to access your stats or achievements, so while the game is playable it won’t contribute to your progress, which is actually quite annoying. You would think it would be able to store the information locally and upload it when you next connect to the internet, but it doesn’t appear to do so.

Jetpack Joyride won’t blow you away in the same way a game like Canabalt might have when you first played it and for the most part it follows the quickly established trends of ‘endless run’ style games.

Nonetheless it’s excellent fun, well put together and well worth the asking price, which is absolutely nothing.

Taken from my blog: