In the latest chapter of “Oh, My Gosh, How Can That Be!?” this year marks the ten-year anniversary of the launch of Halbrick’s Jetpack Joyride. Yes, the thus far most successful adventure of Barry Steakfries is about to be a decade old. Do you old-school TouchArcadians remember when it was originally called Machine Gun Jetpack? Those were the days. Who knows if it would have reached the type of success that it has if they didn’t change the name a few weeks before release. Anyway, over the course of the last ten years, Jetpack Joyride has received a ludicrous amount of new content, new features, special events, and so much more. I mean it gets updated pretty much at least once a month, which is crazy. But at its heart, Jetpack Joyride is still a 10-year-old game that is starting to show its age, and so similar to how they launched the revamped Fruit Ninja 2 last year to mark the 10-year anniversary of the original game’s launch, Halfbrick has just put out Jetpack Joyride 2 in soft launch in select regions. Here’s the trailer.
As an aside, if you aren’t a regular watcher of the Barry Vlogs over on the Halfbrick YouTube channel, you’re missing out. They are hilarious. Anyway, as with Fruit Ninja 2, Halfbrick isn’t trying to completely reinvent the wheel with Jetpack Joyride 2 and you can expect that same action-oriented cave flyer core gameplay, but they do introduce some new concepts to that core gameplay that shake things up pretty significantly, some of which is highlighted in the above trailer. First and foremost is that you can shoot guns now. Sure, your jetpack itself was always able to shoot and was your primary weapon in the first game, but now you’ll come across enemies that need to be defeated and you’ll simply automatically open fire on them while you’re flying. There’s also new weapon pick-ups that give you a variety of cool ways to shoot those enemies down.
This leads into another big change: Boss fights. Jetpack Joyride 2 is actually level-based now, with a boss appearing once you’ve reached a certain distance in each level. Also, rather than being a (mostly) one-hit-kill game, Barry gets an actual life meter in this sequel so he can take a few hits without ending the current run. And as you’ve probably noticed, Jetpack Joyride 2 features a new graphical style. The pixel art from the original was great, but didn’t always scale well to the numerous sizes and ultra-high resolution screens that are common in smart devices nowadays. These new graphics look sharp and animate nice and smoothly compared to the original game.
The last point I’ll make about Jetpack Joyride 2 is that the entire game’s progression system has been built from the ground up to be a modern free to play game. The first Jetpack Joyride certainly made its way into that territory as well, but it always felt like Halfbrick was just tacking more and more things onto the top of that original, much more simplistic version of the game. This sequel is basically built to feed into your need to unlock and upgrade and collect everything imaginable. Unfortunately this also includes an energy mechanic which can’t be permanently bought out with IAP. I generally enjoy these over-the-top free to play progression loops but loathe dealing with energy, and will always buy out of it if given the chance. At least in this soft-launched version of Jetpack Joyride 2, that’s not possible.
However, I do think the genuinely fun core mechanics that made the original Jetpack Joyride such a sensation have carried over well to Jetpack Joyride 2. No worldwide release date has been set just yet, but I imagine that Halfbrick will be shooting for the actual 10-year anniversary of the first game which is in September, but again that’s just my own speculation and anything could happen. In the meantime though if you have an iTunes account in Australia, New Zealand, or Canada then you can give Jetpack Joyride 2 a spin on iOS using this link right here and on Android using this link here. If you do give it a shot be sure to leave your thoughts about it in the discussion thread in our forums.