Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Jetpack Joyride | Mini Review

I’ve got a shorter review for this week, and the game I’m going to be looking at is actually fairly old.  It is Jetpack Joyride – more specifically the Deluxe PS3 version.  I have put a ton of hours into both this version and the Android version on my Kindle Fire.  The game is fundamentally the same on both platforms  except that because it is part of Amazon’s Underground scheme it is 100% on their devices, including all DLC and coin packs that would normally cost you money elsewhere.  You many think that this is a good thing but when infinite coins are so easy to obtain, you can pretty much break the game for yourself and render it pretty pointless.  So if you have the willpower I would recommend not touching any of the free stuff at all, or if you know that you won’t be able to manage that, spend the paltry £1.39 asking price for the PS3 version and earn everything properly with the in game currency.   I’ll go into more detail about this later on in the review.

So then, the overall plot behind the game sees you take control of Barry Steakfries, the hero, who takes a prototype jet pack for a joyride.  In order to escape the laboratory with the purloined pack, you will have to first navigate 30,000 meters of deadly zappers and missiles, which is way, way easier said than done.  I’ve put quite a bit of time into the game and furthest I’ve managed to get is about the 4,500 meter mark.  This game is firmly in the “endless runner” category, except in theory it’s not actually endless.  From your point of view when you first start out, it may as well be though.  The layout of the lab changes each time, and before long you are careening along at a breakneck pace.   Eventually it will become unmanageable and you will make a mistake, bringing your run to an end.    While you’ve been dodging the many dangers though, you’ve been picking up coins, which can be spent in the Stash on a variety of things.   Probably the most useful are the Gadgets, which change up certain aspects of the game – but you can only equip two of these at a time.   They include stuff like a device that causes the missiles to misfire more often than not, and another that randomly turns certain coins into precious gems.   As you purchase gadgets from the earlier tiers, you will gradually unlock later ones with more useful stuff.  Then there are Utilities, which are one time use items such as hearts that can be used to resurrect you one time, and other items that will let you instantly pass a particularly tricky mission (more on these in a minute).

Awww, it's Mr Cuddles!!!
The Stash is also home a variety of clothing, different types of jet pack, and vehicle upgrades.   The clothing is purely cosmetic, but the other things may change up the gameplay a little bit.  Because you start with the machine gun jet pack, as you boost you will be inadvertently filling poor unsuspecting scientists full of lead as you go.  Most of the time that’s perfectly fine, but sometimes you may have a mission to not harm any scientists on a run.   By changing the jet pack you’ve got equipped – to a steam powered one for example, you can make it much easier to avoid scientist slaughter.  You still need to avoid crushing into them, of course, but that’s pretty straight forward if you have decent throttle control.   During a typical run through the lab you will find randomly place vehicle icons, which let you go on a rampage in a robot suit called Lil Stomper, or a mechanical dragon called Mr Cuddles, for example.  The upgrades mostly give you different skins to equip, but you can also buy magnet upgrades which will then attract precious coins.  Very useful indeed.     The items in the stash will go on sale periodically, and new items may appear from time to time.  Some of them, like the sleigh and the Santa outfit, are seasonal and available for a limited time only.  Others cost real money if you want them straight away, or if you are patient you can get them for free if you wait about 15 days.

The missions are part of what playing the game so addictive.    Usually you will have three assigned to you at the same time, and they include things like high-fiving a certain amount of scientists, having a near miss with a certain number of missiles, or gathering a certain number of coins.  Sometimes your target will be fairly high but can be spread over as many runs as you need in order to complete it – for example 5000 coins.  Other targets may be good for just one run, and so are a bit trickier to get.   Each mission has a star value of one to three, and these stars contribute to your level. Every time you level up, you get a bonus in coins.   Once you get to level 15, you will have finished that set of missions, but that’s not the end.  You are then awarded a medal and the whole process starts again.  There are many different mission types and they are randomised, so the chances of you getting the exact same ones are pretty remote.  There are 175 medals, so if you want to get all of them, it will take you a long long time indeed!   So in addition to just managing to get all the way to 30,000 meters, you also have the additional objective of earning all those medals.  For such a cheap game, Jetpack Joyride has a ton of content!  There is also a reward for coming back every day.   Every 24 hours, three tokens will appear that spell out S.A.M, which is short for Strong Arm Machine.  Once you get all three, you will be encased in a giant robot suit until you get hit by five missiles. The amount of coins that appear increase dramatically during this mode, so you can really bolster your coffers if you’re reaction times are good!  Once the S.A.M. has been destroyed and that run ends, you are then given a daily bonus.   If you do this every day for five days, you will be given a random outfit for free.

Make good use of the S.A.M. to earn a ton of extra coins.

The presentation of Jetpack Joyride is fantastic, with really well drawn and animated sprites and backgrounds.   There is a ton of detail and lots of little hidden things to uncover.  The tune that plays on a loop in the background is also extremely catchy, as are the remixed dub step and Christmas versions when you are in the S.A.M. and the sleigh respectively.   For such as cheap game you really can get a ton of play time out of it, if you get really hooked!  While there are items that are on sale for real money in the Stash, you are always given ways to obtain them for free if you just wait or save up the required number of coins, so the micro transactions are not evil in that regard like they can be in other games.  The great thing about the PlayStation version is that not only can you play it on your big screen TV, you can also play it on your Vita if you happen to own one with Cross Save!  The special Back to the Future content may be missing on Sony consoles (from what I can tell at any rate) but the base game is still great fun without it.   If you’ve never played it before, I urge you to download Jetpack Joyride on whatever compatible platform you own, and prepare to be addicted!

Overall: 9 out of 10

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