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

I first encountered Jetpack Joyride in 2012, a year following its iOS debut, while enjoying the acclaimed title on my Playstation Vita. Just last week, during my journey to Wayanad, I revisited the original Jetpack Joyride on my iPhone. Remarkably, even after many years, the game’s allure remains strong. A decade later, the Australian studio unveils the sequel to Jetpack Joyride, now an exclusive title on Apple Arcade. Barry Steakfries, the unwavering hero of Halfbrick Studios, resumes his adventures in this installment.

As a devoted side-scrolling shooter enthusiast, I am easily captivated by 2D platformers with simple yet profoundly engaging mechanics. I hold deep appreciation for the work of Halfbrick Studios, the developer behind casual yet addictive games like Fruit Ninja. Having immersed myself in Jetpack Joyride 2 for what feels like an eternity, I find it thoroughly delightful. In this review, I will delve into the game’s story, gameplay, graphics, and whether Jetpack Joyride 2 merits your time.

**The Story:**
Jetpack Joyride 2, akin to its predecessor, follows the escapades of Barry Steakfries, a door-to-door gramophone salesman burdened by life’s failures. His journey takes an unexpected turn when he stumbles upon scientists developing an experimental jetpack. Motivated by the possibilities, Barry breaks into the laboratory, dons the jetpack, and attempts a stealthy escape. Negotiating a labyrinth of lasers, traps, and missiles, he hurtles into a perpetual side-scrolling environment with the core mission of thwarting a scientist’s nefarious experiment.

Amidst the airborne escapades, Barry faces challenges, dodges missiles, and collects coins. Unlike a mindless side-scroller, the sequel incorporates a robust narrative, an upgraded system, multiple levels, and character dialogues. Barry’s control remains familiar, but now he automatically shoots while flying. The addition of guns and special weapons enhances the gameplay, and notably, Jetpack Joyride 2 transcends the endless runner format with a proper conclusion.

Jetpack Joyride 2 adheres to the original game’s gameplay mechanics. A single control—tapping anywhere on the touchscreen—activates Barry’s jetpack, propelling him to greater heights with each passing moment. Collecting coins during flight unlocks items and upgrades. While the gameplay simplicity endures, the diverse levels, set in different labs, captivate players with brief durations and introduce new enemies and boss fights.

The game incorporates upgraded systems, allowing coin utilization for health enhancements and firepower improvements. A novel addition is the ‘factory,’ producing in-game currencies. Jetpack Joyride avoids traditional monetization routes, and although a loot box system exists, it lacks microtransactions—a strategic move by Halfbrick Studios within the Apple Arcade ecosystem.

The game’s effort to elevate gameplay is evident, transitioning from retro pixelation to contemporary cartoon art without compromising its appeal to genre enthusiasts and the speedrunning community. Classic gameplay is preserved, infused with modern touches and innovative ideas that build upon existing concepts.

**Final Thoughts:**
Jetpack Joyride 2 stands out as a brilliantly executed casual game, accommodating players for both short and extended sessions. Its replay value is evident, although a desire for a slightly longer gameplay experience lingers. Despite this, the game provides excellent value and proves to be a noteworthy addition to Apple’s Arcade game subscription service. As I anticipate potential additions of new levels in the future, Jetpack Joyride 2, while possibly brief for some, remains a fantastic and compelling gaming option.