Good because..
On the surface Jetpack Joyride is a very simple game with the visual quality you would come to expect from HalfBrick. Underneath the accessible single-touch compulsive one-more-go gameplay however, is a wealth of missions, vehicles, utilities, gadgets and customisation options for both character and jetpack. The constant stream of missions provide a great source of motivation to continue playing. Three missions are active at any one time – and when a mission is completed it is replaced with another. Each mission has a number of stars associated with it, and those stars feed into a ranking/levelling system. Fulfill the stars required and you level up, bringing with it a coins bonus that are then used to purchase utilities, gadgets and customisation options. Missions, coins, and levels piggyback each other very well – creating a never ending domino effect. The vehicles effectively give players an extra life as once the player gets hit they can continue on as normal – but it never feels like this was tacked on; each vehicle feels unique and if nothing else will always provide entertainment value and leave you with a big smile on your face.

Bad because…
If I have one criticism it’s that coin accumulation is very slow – which makes purchasing coins from the App Store the only alternative to spending a large number of hours playing the game. Obviously this technique enables the developer to make money – but there will come a point where each player has to make a choice – buy coins or lose interest and stop playing. I feel this choice could have been delayed and made a little less black and white by giving more coins to the player during gameplay; not enough to remove the need purchase additional coins, but just enough to make the utilities and customisation options seem more attainable and within a shorter time frame.

Improve because…
Coin collection is something primal within a player, most likely because we are obsessed with money – it’s satisfying to fly through a field of floating coins; so why not have coins everywhere, all the time? Failing that – a bonus game accessed via the slot machine would be a good addition; thirty seconds of pure coin collection and no obstacles. Another welcome addition (for me at least) would be to have a zombie killing spree round – where hordes of zombie scientists shuffle along the floor while Barry mows them down with his jetpack – resulting in coins or completing a mission objective.

Overall…
I would say that Jetpack Joyride is an essential game to the App Store – just the kind of game that makes the iPhone a genuine rival for any traditional handheld game console, and challenges the perception some people have that mobile gaming is somehow inferior to traditional console gaming because of it’s size/cost.