TGC Review: Jetpack Joyride (PS Vita)

jetpack_joyrideWe here at The Games Cabin pride ourselves on being among the first when it comes to reviews, as well as being fashionably late with others.

Our Jetpack Joyride review falls under the latter category, but better late than never eh?

What is it?

Jetpack Joyride is probably best known as the smart phone game you just cant put down. Originally available on Android and iOS devices, Halfbrick Studios crazy side scroller made addicts of us all.

jetpack_2Now it’s made its way onto another portable device, the Playstation Vita. Completely free of charge, Jetpack Joyride can be downloaded from the Playstation Store for nothing and it’ll only take up around 33 precious MegaBytes of memory card space.

Story

UPDATE – just been informed that at Comic-Con 2012 a back story for Barry was given, which you can find here. Mine sounds better though…

Um, well, there isn’t one really. Well, not at all to be honest.

All that is made obvious is that you play as Barry, the bloke who bashes through the wall and takes a jetpack for a joyride (hence the name of the game.)

Not to worry though, I’ve created a back story for good ol’ Barry. I’ve got a horrible/ace habit of making up stories for characters that have little to no point in games/movies/television shows and even children’s TV shows (it makes Bob The Builder a lot more interesting when you imagine Bob and Wendy are having it off behind the sheds…)

If you have no interest in my made-up back story for Barry and why he explodes through a wall and rides a jetpack, skip down to the next section and read the gameplay and graphics section, otherwise, enjoy!

Barry is a clone. One of many clones. Clones developed to build an army in an attempt to over-throw the great nation of Wales. If you don’t know what Wales is, here’s the Wikipedia page.

The clones have been developed separately from the jetpack and the other vehicles available to ride throughout the game (more on them below.)

While there are thousands of clones, not all are made equal. The best clones are designed as sleeper agents, dressed like your ordinary office worker, able to blend in with the crowd until they are ready to strike, that’s why they are dressed in suits. In the “Clone Revolt”, these special clones have escaped from the lab they are being held and trained in. With the jetpacks being the only immediate method of transport the clones attempt to escape using the experimental technology, as well as the other vehicles in development at the labs.

However, none ever escape, but continue to try whilst the scientists try to perfect the “Clone Formula” so that they can control the clones without any risk of them turning on their creators.

Yes, there are massive plot holes, but that’s the fun in thinking up these stupid little stories, I don’t need to worry about plot holes, a bit like J.K Rowling…(Though I’m not a millionaire, or a M.I.L.F. Don’t judge me…)

So that’s the story I’ve provided, feel free to elaborate or create your own, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a bit of a silly back story while you play, if anything it makes it more of a giggle.

Gameplay

Right, the “real” part of the review starts here (if you consider my story stupid that is.)

The gameplay is so simple, even a child can play with ease, and they do, I’ve seen them!

You simply have to press a button or tap the touch screen/rear touch panel to make Barry fly upwards in his jetpack, and release to see him descend. Sounds simple, but it’s not as easy as all that. There’s many an obstacle that will get in the way, one’s which you’ll have to learn to avoid if you want to get any sort of high score. jetpack_3

Zapper and missiles are the most common form of “enemy” that will cause you to fall to the ground with all the grace of a fat duck. In addition to missiles and zappers are the lasers. The lasers are typically a bar that goes from one side of the screen to the other, but as you progress further the lasers become more complex and take a bit more skill, or as I find, dumb luck to get past.

The same holds true for the zappers and missiles, the further distance covered the more frequent the projectiles come at you and the more difficult it is the avoid the zappers, due to the increasing speed you build up.

As is true with the iOS and Android version, there are numerous upgrades available to aid Barry in his futile quest to escape the labs. First off, there are gadgets. The gadgets are items that you can equip to help you, of which you can have two at any given time. The real trick here is finding the combo that works best for you, whether it be the Coin Magnet and Air Barry’s, or the Insta-Ball and Missile-Jammer, it’s all about personal preference. jetpack_4

Like most things in life, the gadgets aren’t free. To get your hands on these handy little things you’ll need to collect enough coins, which is done within the game. As you fly along you’ll see coins in random formations for you to collect, the more you collect, the better, obviously.

Another way to get coins is collecting the Spin Tokens which float along, waiting for you to fly into them. The Spin Tokens allow you to either take a chance on a slot-machine game at the end of your run, where you win little bonuses ranging from 100 coins to a second go at the run you just ended. Otherwise, you can cash in your Spin Tokens for a guaranteed 50 coins each, completely up to you.

In addition to collection coins in your run or cashing in spin tokens, you’re rewarded coins for leveling up, which is done by completing the “missions.”

The missions are pretty straight forward and self-explanatory, fly past 10 flashing red lights, high-five 20 scientists etc. Each time you complete a mission you’re rewarded with a star which goes toward leveling up, and once you reach new level you’re given a reward in the form of coins, yay!

As you probably guessed, the missions do get a little tougher as you go further on. By the time you’re at level 50 you’ll be finding them positively frustrating, but you still won’t be able to put the game down, it’s just so addictive!

As mentioned earlier, the jetpack isn’t the only way to attempt a break out from the labs. There are 5 other vehicles which can be picked up throughout the game by flying into vehicle markers, a bit like Spin Tokens but instead of bouncing around the screen, they remain stationary.

The six vehicles and their properties are:

Mr Cuddles: a massive robotic fire-breathing dragon.

Lil’ Stomper: a mech suit that Barry sits in and has the ability to semi-hover after jumping, elongating jumps.

Crazy Freaking Teleporter: a crazy freaking teleporter. Duh.

Bad As Hog: a motorcycle that Barry rides while pumping out slugs from a shotgun, donning a leather jacket and shades. Very Terminator.

The Profit Bird: a bird that resembles an Angry Bird. Each time you tap to make him fly he shits cash notes from his rear end. Obviously a little jab at Angry Birds, but a nice touch.

Gravity Suit –  a suit that Barry can wear to shift gravity at will.

The gameplay is simple enough to get you sucked in with its simplicity, but strong enough to keep you glued and giving it “just one more go,” even if it means taking it to the toilet. Don’t judge me, we’ve all played a game on the loo, and if you haven’t, give it a go. Just don’t drop it down the toilet, else it is well and truly in the shit.

Graphics

The graphics are simple 2D side scroller graphics, reminiscent of the arcade games of yesteryear. The characters and vehicles are all well designed and nice enough to look at, but nothing particularly special. Colours and animations have also been done to a high standard and are perfectly serviceable, albeit not the mega graphics you may be used to from the likes of Uncharted: Golden Abyss or Need for Speed: Most Wanted. The thing to remember with Jetpack Joyride is that it’s free and it’s not supposed to be a graphical showpiece.

Sound

The music is one of my favourite things about Jetpack Joyride. The funky beats that flow alongside you make it a real pleasure to play, even more so with a decent pair of in-ear earphones.

The sound effects are also high quality, with bullets streaming from your jetpack smashing glass tiles on the ground with a satisfying shatter, you;ll be sure to appreciate the effort that’s gone into making the game sound better than most free games.

Summary

Jetpack Joyride was brilliant on Android and iOS devices, but it’s even better on the PS Vita with the addition of trophies and the ability to control Barry without obstructing the view of the screen. Definitely worth a download, just be warned, once you’ve played 15 minutes, you better be ready to play 15 hours, it’s THAT addictive!

Presentation: The main menu is simple enough to get around, though it may take a few minutes to become fully accustomed with the layout and how to link you Facebook and Twitter. 8.0

Graphics: It’s not a graphical powerhouse, but it’s not supposed to be. It’s a 2D side scroller for free. The visuals are crisp and clean and inject some 90’s arcade nostalgia into proceedings, which is in no way a bad thing. 8.0

Sound: The sound track is fantastic, the sound effects are well done and there’s not even a hint of Justin Bieber or Nikki Minaj.  9.0

Gameplay: Really simple to pick up and play, whether it’s for 5 minutes or an hour. Fun is provided by the bucket load and for a freebie, you can’t go wrong. 9.5

Lasting Appeal: There’s a lot to do. With no real end in sight, you’ll be spending a lot of time collecting coins and completing mission, hoping to level up faster than your mates. 9.5

Overall: 8.8 – Great

About Chris

Hi! I'm Chris. It's not the name I would have given myself at birth, but it'll do... Playing games is my favourite pastime, whether it be on a console, a handheld, a phone or some simple snakes and ladders, I just love playing games!