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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. Here is one cool enough to keep you busy during this weekend.
Junk Jack X ($4.99 Universal) is a 2D, side-scrolling version of Minecraft and long-awaited sequel to the original Junk Jack. In Junk Jack X you set out exploring the world making it your own by destroying then rebuilding all manner of objects one block at a time.
Jack moves around using an invisible virtual joystick accessible from anywhere on the screen. You press, swipe left and hold to move left; and press, swipe right and hold to move right. Make a quick upward swipe in either direction to jump up. Moving around in Jack’s world is simple enough, but moving around is the least of your worries. On your first day in the game you need to get busy if you plan on surviving the night. Like any good survival game, you need to collect some of the essential raw materials around you and start crafting them into the tools and building materials necessary to create a simple shelter. Cutting down trees to gather wood, mining stone from a quarry, and even digging up dirt blocks to create a simple mud hut will get you on your way. Every element in the world around you can be crafted into something useful.
One of the new additions to Junk Jack X is a more simplified crafting engine. To craft an item with the traditional crafting engine, you need to arrange materials on a three-by-three grid in various patterns. A stone pickax, for instance, requires three stone blocks and two wood planks arranged on the grid in a manner that resembles the pickax. The more often you create an item, the quicker you memorize the pattern required to craft it. For first timers using the simplified crafting engine, you do not have to memorize patterns or even arrange blocks of raw materials on the grid. You simply browse a catalog of available items, and if you have the correct amount of each block required to make the item in your inventory, you just tap a button and create it.
The creativity extends to crafting tables, anvils, and even a forge that will turn iron lumps into iron ingots used to create stronger tools and weapons. In all there are 750 different crafts that you can build. There is a series of detailed tutorials that explain everything from the very basic ways to move Jack around, crafting and using items to the more complex topics of farming crops and breeding animals. Having the tutorials available in the game is much more convenient than referring to the online wiki or asking questions in the online forums.
Surviving in Junk Jack X requires you to kill the 150 different mobs within the game. Mobs are non-player characters; some are hostile and others are not. You will need to kill the hostile mobs like zombies, skeletons and spiders before they kill you, and you need to kill the non-hostile mobs like cows, pigs and hens to have food to eat. There are four different worlds you can explore: Terra, Seth, Alba and Xeno. Each world not only has its own terrain to explore, but they also have their own unique looking mobs and items to collect and build. Alba and Xeno are much more alien like than Terra and Seth.
There is a multiplayer mode where you can explore the different worlds with your one of your GameCenter friends or up to three of your locally connected friends. Beware of connecting to the random GameCenter gamer, you may find yourself in hostile territory. While there are in-app purchases, they are non-perishable purchases that are made outside of the normal gameplay. You can unlock all of the worlds, purchase a complete craft book, and even purchase some cosmetic items that help personalize the game a little more.
There is much work to be done in Jack’s many worlds, so this weekend why don’t you give him a hand and start crafting those worlds as if they were your own.