Aug 21, 2012
Well, it finally happened: Jetpack Joyride finally has made the jump to Android from iOS, about a year after its initial release. The game might be one of the most influential titles in the past year along with Temple Run as far as its gameplay and business model goes: earning coins and completing missions for upgrades is something seen in countless other titles hoping for similar success. So it’s kind of a surprise that it’s taken this long.
Though, it’s also a surprise that this happened. I spoke with Halfbrick at GDC, and back then, the word was that an Android version was not in the works. Things have clearly changed, as the game has launched on the Amazon Appstore.
The goal of the game is the same as it was on iOS: players control Age of Zombies protagonist Barry Steakfries as he rides a jetpack propelled by bullets through dangerous corridors full of lasers and missiles. Along the way, he can pick up coins, tokens for the end-game slot machine, and special vehicles to ride, such as a giant robot dragon and the “Profit Bird” which drops dollars bills as it flies upward. Players just tap on the screen to fly upward, that’s it. The coins can be put toward cosmetic upgrades, consumable items, or gadgets that modify the game experience.
Jetpack Joyride’s core simplicity is part of why it’s so fun. Even a year later, it’s so easy to pick up and play again and again. It never really loses sight of the idea that it’s about the high score quest, rather than collecting coins to unlock things. The gadgets, because they were a late addition to the game (though they are welcome here as the game is feature-identical to the iOS version), only really tweak the experience, instead of serving as necessary things to unlock. It’s possible to just keep playing the game without worrying about the coins and unlocks at all, though when there’s such cool costumes, jetpacks, and even a helpful robot dog to unlock, it’s hard not to care.
One thing does bug me about Jetpack Joyride after having gone through hundreds, if not thousands, of play sessions: the game becomes practically impossible at high speeds. At least, it becomes difficult to play skillfully because there’s just no time to react to oncoming hazards. So, after a while, it just feels like luck of the draw.
Still, there’s a reason why Jetpack Joyride was so anticipated: the game is still so fun beyond its flaws. It’s still definitely worth the free download from Amazon Appstore, though it isn’t yet on Google Play. Ride the dragon!