Jetpack Joyride by Halfbrick Studios icon

Jetpack Joyride ($0.99) by Halfbrick Studios brings back Barry Steakfries, everyone’s favorite hero, in another endless running adventure.

You may remember Barry from Monster Dash, another game that we previously covered, and that awesome weapon – the Machine Gun Jetpack. Well, now you have Barry again, and this time the entire game focuses on him flying through a secret laboratory with his stolen Machine Gun Jetpack, scattering all of the evil scientists around him.

Jetpack Joyride by Halfbrick Studios screenshot

Yes, this is another endless runner, like Monster Dash, except this is the best game of the genre I’ve ever played. It’s just that good.

The controls are simple – simply tap on the screen to use your jetpack. There will be zappers, lasers, and missiles that will get in your way, and the only way to get past them is to simply avoid them. To do this, you will have to have excellent reflexes and be able to tap Barry to safety – hovering is key. Barry can also run on foot too.

As you fly (or run), you will encounter coins and tokens along the way. Collecting coins will allow you to purchase items for Barry in The Stash, while Spin Tokens will grant you a spin on the Final Spin wheel. Oh, and those sparkly, rainbow-colored boxes? They contain vehicles for you to use – this is a secret laboratory, after all! Vehicles will be some returning favorites like the Hardcore Hog, and some new ones, including the Crazy Freaking Teleporter, Gravity Guy, and Lil Stomper. And some bird that looks angry and wants to gobble up coins.

In The Stash, you can buy outfit pieces for Barry, various jetpacks, vehicle upgrades, and utilities. Your profile and achievements are also viewable, as well as the “Get Coins” option, in which you can purchase more coins for some real life cash.

The Final Spin wheel will appear only at the end of your game if you collect a spin token. You can use the tokens to spin the wheel and take a chance at getting a prize, or you can cash it in for 50 coins apiece. Prizes include more tokens, coins, head starts and double coins the next run, and blasts to push your dead Barry even further down the endless lab. Make sure to nab those tokens whenever you can! The rewards definitely make it worth the effort.

You will notice that the items you can purchase in The Stash can be a bit pricey. So you’ll have to keep playing the game over and over, collecting coins. Sounds tedious, right? Fortunately, Halfbrick decided to spice things up a bit.

In Jetpack Joyride, there are missions that you will keep getting as you play. These missions will have various tasks that you must accomplish, such as “Get five near-misses with a missile” or “High-five 10 scientists” or “Run 500m without collecting any coins,” and much, much more. You’ll only be able to have three missions at a time, so you’ll have to be clearing them to get rid of them and get new ones.

Each mission you complete will earn you stars. The amount of stars for each mission will vary from one or two stars each. These stars are used to level-up your rank. How good are you? Your rank (shown on My Profile) will tell.

Jetpack Joyride by Halfbrick Studios screenshot

It is this use of missions and ranks that makes you keep playing. I bought the game as soon as it was available, and found myself playing it non-stop for most of the night. The missions definitely give a whole new meaning to the thought of “just another run” when there are specific goals you must accomplish.

Again, the graphics look great and the animations are smooth. The soundtrack to the game definitely gives you the action-feel – this is Barry Steakfries, after all. OpenFeint and Game Center are supported for leaderboards and tons of achievements.

If you’re ever curious about your stats, check out My Profile. This shows your current rank and information on your personal bests, best vehicle runs, totals, and deaths. In other words, see just how much time and effort Halfbrick has sucked out of you with this amazing game.

There isn’t anything flawed with Jetpack Joyride – it’s just seriously one of the best games available on the iPhone and iPad. At $0.99, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not buying it.