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Jetpack Joyride 2 review: Familiar, but still a lot of fun

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I was first introduced to Jetpack Joyride in 2012 (exactly one year after the game’s debut on iOS) when I played the acclaimed title on my Playstation Vita. In fact last week on the way to Wayanad I played the original Jetpack ride on my iPhone. Even after so many years, it is still an addictive game. After 10 long years, the Australian studio is back with a sequel to Jetpack Joyride, although this time the game is exclusive to Apple Arcade. And Barry Steakfries, the tireless hero of Halfbrick Studios, is back at work for this one.

I’m a side-scrolling shooter devotee and I’m easily drawn to 2D platformers where the mechanics are simple yet incredibly deep. With that being said, I have great appreciation for the work done by Halfbrick Studios, the developer who also brought us casual yet addictive games like fruit ninja in the past. I’ve been playing Jetpack Joyride 2 for what seems like forever and found it absolutely delicious. I will tell you everything about the game: the story, the gameplay, the graphics, and whether Jetpack Joyride 2 is worth it or not.

Joyride 2 Jetpack: Playable on iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV
developer: Halfbrick Studios
Release: August 19, 2022
MRP: Part of Apple Arcade (Rs 99 per month)

The history

Jetpack Joyride 2, like the original game, revolves around Barry Steakfries, a door-to-door gramophone salesman who is down in life after many failures. One day, he sees a group of scientists working on an experimental jetpack. Thinking about how he could use the jetpack in different ways, Barry storms into the lab, puts on the jetpack and tries to sneak out. Coming through the wall of a secret lab with a stolen jetpack strapped to his back, he finds himself launching headfirst into lasers, traps, and missiles, leading him into an endless side-scrolling environment. The central objective is to stop a scientist and his evil experiment.

Throughout the journey there are many up and down flights, Barry must avoid obstacles, dodge missiles and collect coins. This is no brainless sidescroller. There’s a proper story, and the sequel feels like an expansion of what the OG game did with an upgrade system and has multiple levels, and characters are given dialogue for a change. You control Barry, just like you did in the original game. However, now the protagonist fires automatically while he is flying; Furthermore, the sequel also gives you guns and special weapons to shoot enemies. The difference in Jetpack Joyride 2 is that it is no longer an endless racing game: it has a proper ending.

The tried and true classic gameplay is intact but with modern twists and new ideas that expand on existing concepts in interesting ways. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

how to play

The gameplay of Jetpack Joyride 2 is no different from the original game. It all boils down to a single control. To help Barry escape from the lab, he just has to touch anywhere on the touch screen to activate the jetpack. The goal is simple, the more you run/fly, the higher Barry will fly. As he flies or runs, he collects coins that can be used to unlock items and upgrades.

Although the gameplay remains simple, it’s the levels that got me hooked on the game for hours. The game is divided into different levels set in different laboratories. Levels are usually a few minutes long, and these levels introduce new enemies and boss fights that keep players interested in a game. The game also has new updated systems. Coins can be used to upgrade your health and improve firepower, and there’s also the garage section to upgrade your vehicles. New to the game is a feature called a ‘factory’ that produces these in-game currencies.

Unlike other mobile games where you can spend real money to buy different weapons, there is no real monetization in Jetpack Joyride. Apple Arcade games don’t have in-app purchases, however Halfbrick Studios have cleverly introduced an in-game loot box system but no microtransactions. Some people may not like the idea, but I totally agree with the concept.

Throughout the game I can see the effort being put into improving the gameplay and that is best suited for a side scroller like this. Although the sequel has moved away from the retro pixelation of the original and moved closer to contemporary cartoon art and animation, Jetpack Joyride 2 manages to excite genre purists and the speed racing community. The tried and true classic gameplay is intact but with modern twists and new ideas that expand on existing concepts in interesting ways.

Although the gameplay remains simple, it’s the levels that got me hooked on the game for hours. (Image credit: Apple)

final thoughts

Jetpack Joyride 2 is a brilliantly executed casual game that can be played for as short or as long a period of time as the user wants. I can play Jetpack Joyride 2 over and over again. I do wish the game was a bit longer though. With that said, I look forward to seeing new levels added to the game in the future. Perhaps the game is too short for some, Jetpack Joyride 2 is fantastic value and a great addition to Apple’s Arcade game subscription service.

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