Can a free game still be a good game?
Better known for their Fruit Ninja game, Halfbrick Studios ports their IOS game “Jetpack Joyride” free of charge. Never played it before? It’s very simple.
Essentially, you play as Barry, a character who attempts to escape a lab on a jetpack. With only the ability to elevate up and float down while the game auto-scrolls to the right, your score is determined on the distance of your escape. There is no “end” to this game so this game serves only as a survival score attack. Randomly generated lasers, missiles, and electric walls are the only obstacles that you confront. While the game has no health system, touching one of these obstructions will result crashing into the ground forcing your game to end and restart.
Throughout your run, randomly places currency coins, slot coins, and machine upgrades are placed to collect. Currency coins merely serve as a purpose to buy upgrades and one-use items in the in game shop. Slot coins are used on a final slot machine minigame when you crash in hopes that you can get more bonuses. (Some bonuses included an extra push, more currency coins, and sometimes an extra life). Machine upgrades are found during game. This will transform your Jetpack into a random machine with slightly different controls compared to the classic thrust up. This machine also gives the ability of one extra life. Hitting an obstruction will cause the loss of the machine but the game still continues.
Besides the amount of obstructions, the game also will speed up every ~1000 meters. While in theory is fine, the game never changes the speed of your character. Essentially, imagine if a game is going x2 as fast yet your character still only moves the original speed. Soon enough, there will be a point where no matter what reaction the player has, you will be unable to react to the current situation. It’s a horrible system that forces the player to rely on luck rather that skill.
The game has an in-game store in which you can use the currency coins to customize your character, purchase upgrades for the jetpack/machines, or one-time items that give an invaluable handicap advantage. The problem with this shop is that the prices are outrageous. Clearly its so broken, there’s a “free-ium” shop to purchase more coins for ~$2.00 up to $20.00. Why should I have to pay to get those one-time items?
The game follows a 3 layers of 2d sprites + foreground sprites. It’s nothing spectacular since most of the scenery is a laboratory. It’s nothing memorable.
The game only has 2 songs. A classical song for the title screen and one game tune. While it’s nothing memorable, it has a catchy melody. Though after the 3rd loop, I find myself enjoying other music rather than the game.
The game copies the IOS game where the touch screen is the only “button” in the game. The PS Vita version allows the player to choose between the front or rear touch panels before starting a game. For those with small hands, there should be no problems. Those with large hands will be accidentally setting off the rear touch panel or be forced to cover the front screen with their hands. The PS Vita has buttons and should of been an option.
No bugs detected.
Should I complain about a free game? Well, no. Unfortunally, the game has a broken speed function and since everything is randomly generated, I see no level design in the game at all.
– Quick 1 minute gameplay
– Broken Speed-Up
– Broken Instore Game System
– Lack Of Button Controls
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