Jetpack Joyride 2 – a review

Jetpack Joyride is one of those classic App Store games that everyone played. Developed by Halfbrick, who also did Fruit Ninja and Dan the Man, Jetpack Joyride has been going strong ever since. The game features Barry (and, later, Betty) who tries to escape a mad scientist’s lab with a jetpack that shoots bullets. You tap and hold the screen to fire, which makes you go up, which is, basically, the main mechanic of the game. It’s one of those casual action games, perfect distraction elements designed for mobile devices.

The sequel, exclusive to Apple Arcade (so you’ll need a subscription for that, but it’s worth it), is similar, but fleshed out, to say the least. I’ve been having a lot of fun with it.

I’ll admit that I haven’t kept up with the original Jetpack Joyride, and its development. It’s still available, free to play, on the App Store. Jetpack Joyride 2, being an Apple Arcade release, is spared from nasty monetization tricks, but it still employs some mechanics, albeit without trying to get you to spend more money. For example, you’ll unlock something called the Factory, where you can research things to earn coins. Researching obviously means a timer, and I guess that’s fine, since it makes sense that research takes time. However, when you add everything together, it feels like Jetpack Joyride 2 was designed as a free to play release, but then Halfbrick signed on for Apple Arcade instead. Elements such as the slot machine, daily rewards for checking in, gems to unlock skins as well as power-ups, it just feels like a free to play game, without the money aspect. It’s well done, I don’t mind it, but chances are that this game will reach the App Store when the Apple Arcade deal runs out (if it does), and then it’ll become a free to play release. We’ll see, I guess.

That said, I do enjoy Jetpack Joyride 2. It’s still the same old hovering gameplay mechanic with a bullet-spurting jetpack, but now you get to shoot your enemies, too. Robots show up trying to gun you down, which makes our hovering hero will pull out a gun to shoot them. It adds another dimension to the game, and obviously a ton of power-ups to collect, level up et cetera. Because yeah, Jetpack Joyride 2 is full of power-ups. You’ll see some old ones, like the Big Stomper robot, early on. It’s all very familiar, if you played the original, except for the shooting, that is.

After you’ve reached a certain level (yes, you level up, there are XPs and whatnot) you’ll unlock the Arcade mode. This wasn’t what I expected at all. It features mini-games where you strive for a high score. What sort of games depends, they rotate. Sometimes you try to protect taco ingredients from robots by shooting them, at other times you’re a jetpack-wearing goalie. They’re small and, overall, pleasant breaks from the original gameplay, with rewards. That’s right, play Arcade games to get more coins and gems and slot machine spins… What can I tell you, Jetpack Joyride 2 is at least consistent.

I do recommend giving Jetpack Joyride 2 a go, if you’re an Apple Arcade subscriber. It’s not the game that would make me become one, if it wasn’t already included in the Apple One subscription, but it’s a nice distraction. I will say this, though: Playing games like this is far better on smaller devices, since you need to hold it horizontally. You could hook up a controller, obviously, but barring that, I’d recommend an iPad mini 6, if you’ve got one, for Jetpack Joyride 2.

🚀🚀🚀 out of 5 – Good.

Jetpack Joyride 2 is free without monetization, as part of the Apple Arcade subscription service.