Games for the Weekend is a weekly feature aimed at helping you avoid doing something constructive with your downtime. Each Friday we’ll be recommending a game for Mac, iPhone or iPad that we think is awesome enough to keep you busy until Monday, at least.
I’ve never really tried side-scrolling runner games on iOS , which is a shame since Defender was one of my favorite arcade games growing up. But Jetpack Joyride ($0.99), the latest entry in what seems to be a crowded field broke me down, and I’m glad it did.
You play Barry Steakfries, a machine-gun-jetpack-toting dude intent on claiming as many coins as he can. Along the way you encounter missiles and bug zappers trying to halt your progress. As you get further into the game he moves faster and the obstacles become harder to avoid. The coins you collect can be used to upgrade your guy, although most of them seem to be cosmetic. You can also go the easy route and purchase coins via an in-app purchase.
This isn’t a game that you have to be a rocket scientist to play. Controlling Barry consists of nothing more than tapping the screen to launch him in the air, and holding your finger on the screen to keep him elevated. Sometimes, though, it’s the simple games that captivate our attention.
While Jetpack is a Universal app, I found the overall playing experience to be better on the iPad. Because your thumb is constantly on the screen, so if you use your right thumb your view can be obstructed. Forcing myself to use my left one avoided this problem, but instinctively I wanted to use my right. Also, I couldn’t find a way to have it sync my achievements and coin stash.
Despite these minor annoyances, for a game that costs a buck, I found myself getting many hours of enjoyments out of Jetpack Joyride, making it this week’s Games for the Weekend.