Jetpack Joyride is a variation on the ‘endless run’ style of games that are becoming ever more popular nowadays. It has considerable added-complexity to say, Canabalt, including a jet pack that fires bullets, so already you can see it’s made some vast improvements.
Graphically it harks back to the 16-bit arcade style of the early 1990s although it’s not particularly ‘retro’ in any other respect. A Windows Phone 8 version has also been released following an iOS version and it is perfectly suited to mobile and tablet gaming. Thankfully the controls are simple even using a mouse or keyboard so if you have a laptop you’ll still get a lot out of this game.
As the name suggests, your method of travel is, for the most part, a jet pack, which propels you forward endlessly as you press the screen/mouse/keyboard to fly up or control your fall to avoid the obstacles and collect the coins. Your jet pack also comes with a handy machine gun which you use to shoot fleeing scientists running aimlessly beneath you.
The plot, such as it is, seems to imply you have burst into a science lab of some sort and stolen their jet pack, as scientists flee before you as you try to escape the endless compound, alternating between warehouses, corridors and tropical forest backgrounds.
It also has 200G worth of achievements and unlike some of the other free Xbox LIVE games on the Windows platforms, they are well thought out and not token gestures. They do, though, follow the usual pattern for a game like this in that they encourage you to buy various items from the store, collect this and that and generally experience every aspect the game has to offer.