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Jetpack Joyride Review: Soaring endless distances on Windows Phone 8

Halfbrick Studios supported the launch of Windows Phone 7 with the release of Fruit Ninja and the promise of Age of Zombies. But Fruit Ninja never got content updates (unlike on other platforms) and Age of Zombies never showed up, having caught a bad case of the vaporwares. Many feared that the popular Australian game developer had jumped ship from Windows Phone entirely.

Then in October 2012, Halfbrick’s Jetpack Joyride suddenly showed up as an Xbox Windows 8 game. Microsoft teased a Windows Phone 8 version shortly thereafter, but months passed without the game showing up. Miniclip’s clone Gravity Guy 2 actually beat Jetpack Joyride to market in March! Thankfully Jetpack Joyride finally cleared the perils of Xbox certification and landed on Windows Phone8 earlier this month (and for free). Turns out it was worth the wait!

No escape from reality

The game’s protagonist Barry Steakfries has recently started working as a jetpack tester. He soon discovers that his bosses plan to take over the world. He steals the jetpack and begins a desperate escape from the testing laboratory… But this is an endless runner, so don’t expect to actually escape from the lab.

While the game falls into the running genre, you’ll probably spend most of your time in the air. Tapping the screen activates the jetpack and causes Barry to rise up the screen. Let go and he plummets back to the ground. The controls vary slightly when you get in a vehicle, but the game never requires more than a single finger (placed anywhere on-screen) to use. That approachability plays a big part in the game’s popularity.

Harm’s way

Three types of obstacles threaten to end Barry’s run from the lab: zappers, missiles, and lasers. Zappers – a line of electricity spread across two points come in both stationary and rotating varieties. They are by far the most common and deadly threat.

Missiles fly at Barry from the right side of the screen, sometimes alone and other times on after another. An exclamation mark and sound effect at least warns you of their coming. The least common threat, lasers stretch all the way across the screen in various horizontal patterns. Because lasers are so easy to dodge, I usually looked forward to gaining a little distance unharmed during laser strikes.


Barry can gain a random vehicle and a modicum of protection by grabbing the colored gear icons that appear every now and then. If you get hit while in a vehicle, you lose the ride but survive the blow. Vehicles include:

  • Bad as Hog: An oddly named motorcycle that can jump but not fly. Barry shoots any passing scientists down with a shotgun (a la Terminator 2).
  • Crazy Freaking Teleporter: Possibly the best vehicle in the game, if you can use it right. The teleporter’s aiming reticule constantly moves up and down while the vehicle itself remains at a fixed height. Tap the screen to teleport to the reticule’s position. Because the teleporter can’t be harmed while moving, it can basically survive until the player teleporters into a hazard by mistake.
  • Lil’ Stomper: A mech suit that can jump and hover. Also likes to punch scientists.
  • Mr. Cuddles: Ride this dragon’s head like Falcor from The Neverending Story! The dragon stays at the top of the screen by default; tapping the screen moves him downward.
  • Profit Bird: Rapidly tapping the screen makes the profit bird fly (as opposed to holding your finger against the screen).
  • Gravity Suit: Hey, a Gravity Guy crossover! While dressing up as Miniclip’s character is cool, he reverses gravity far too slowly to be effective. You’ll run into a zapper before very long.

Last Spin

Every now and then a spinner token floats by for the grabbing. Whenever Barry finally dies, he can spend all of his tokens on the lucky spinner. Prizes include double coins on your next run; free Head Start, Final Blast, Quick Revive, and other items; and three quantities of coin payouts.

If you’d rather not take your chances, you can always choose to cash in your tokens instead of spending them. Each one is worth 50 coins.

Coin economy

The ever-present goal is to collect as many coins as possible before you run into one of the lab’s many death traps. Coins can then be spent in the Shack (shop) to unlock new clothes (including an outfit based on fellow publisher Miniclip’s Fragger!), jetpacks, and various items and upgrades. Utilities are single use items while Gadgets and Vehicle Upgrades offer permanent benefits.

At any given time, you have three different optional missions to work on. Missions award 1-3 three stars, depending on their difficulty. Get enough stars and you’ll level up, earning a nice coin reward.

Being a free-to-play game, coins can also be purchased with real money. The IAP prices are actually reasonable, so you know Gameloft didn’t make this one. One purchase you’ll definitely want to make as soon as possible is the Counterfeit Machine. It permanently doubles the amount of coins you pick up during gameplay. The purchase supports Halfbrick and cuts grinding time in half; totally worth it.


The Shack sells a whopping 18 different gadgets – equippable items that affect gameplay in various ways. Barry can only equip two gadgets at a time; how I wished for a third slot, even as an IAP!

Not only are there a ton of gadgets, but practically all of them have some charming graphical effect when equipped. Use the Nerd Repellant to keep scientists from appearing and you’ll notice tumbleweeds show up in their stead. Flash, my personal favorite, causes an AI dog to follow you throughout your run. He jumps to collect coins and tokens and he even changes his appearance when you get in a vehicle. Halfbrick lavished an impressive level of detail into this game.


Much as I love Jetpack Joyride, it does have a few kinks that could use fixing. On a few separate occasions, the title screen “frame” and music would suddenly pop up while I was playing (as pictured above), preventing me from controlling Barry. Basically the game went into its attract mode at the wrong time. On a separate occasion, my character became invisible for a few seconds and died.


Several Achievements involve buying certain items from the Stash and completing various numbers of missions. The two secret Achievements are ‘Blinged Out’ for buying a golden vehicle upgrade and ‘Tee Hee Two’ for collecting exactly 69 coins during a run.

The hardest Achievement by far is ‘Romeo Alpha Delta’ for flying over 5,000 km in a single run. Some players struggle with it, but it basically comes down to a combination of practice, equipping the right gadgets and utilities, and luck. Following the guide at TrueAchievements, you should reach 5,000 km eventually. It only took me five tries!

Overall Impression

It’s a good thing Gravity Guy 2 came out a few months ahead of Jetpack Joyride on Windows Phone. While Miniclip’s endless runner takes ample inspiration from Jetpack Joyride, it doesn’t have nearly as much content or charm.

Jetpack Joyride boasts more backgrounds (randomized), a greater variety of missions, equippable gadgets, vehicles, and the lucky spinner – that’s a lot more game, when you get right down to it. Plus Jetpack Joyride is free as opposed to costing $2.99 AND you can buy a permanent 2x coin multiplier, unlike Gravity Guy 2. In terms of value, Halfbrick’s runner soars over Miniclip’s good but lesser featured clone.

  • Jetpack Joyride – Windows Phone 8 – 36 MB – FREE – Store Link
  • Jetpack Joyride – Windows 8 – 40 MB – FREE – Store Link (opens in new tab)

QR: Jetpack Joyride

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

  • Does anyone notice the live tile as written on the store?
  • So addictive! Amazing game!
  • You can say that again!!
    Simply awesome
  • My youngest daughter loves Mr. Cuddles.
  • Wht abt todays release paul?
  • It's looking like we might not get one today. Usually it would have shown up by now.
  • Oh no please dont say this... :(
  • OMG this is ridiculous.Instead of releasing more than 2-3 titles per week to catch up the other platforms,they aren't releasing any game.
  • It also has a very irritating bug that sends you back to the game's start screen and erases ALL the coins you collected. Which is really really really annoying. But hey...its free so...can't complain much.
  • Just exit and go back in. Everything comes back. I love this game. Been playing it a few weeks now. 928
  • All I can say about this post: you were fast!
  • Well, I got to it faster than Gravity Guy 2 anyway. :) This would have run last week but I was busy with E3.
  • Best game to play when you have to fill in gaps of two to five minutes over the course of the day
  • I loved this game for about a week or two, then it all of a sudden stopped opening.
  • Wish I could play this on my WP7.  Probably my absolute favorite mobile game.  I was able to earn trophies for it on PS3 and my Vita, excited to finally be able to get achievements for it on my WP8 when I eventually get one.
  • None of those problems happened to me... Yet. :O
  • I just downloaded it. Why didn't o do it sooner. EPIC!
  • I love this game!
  • Check out Wordament 2.5 update, its beautifullllllllll!
  • I love playing this game on my Windows 8 PC and was waiting it for my WP8. However, there are some bugs that need to be fixed....asap!! 1. The game restarts in the middle of the run, it says "Touch anywhere to play" and restarts from the same location. I didn't notice if it resets the coins collected.
    2. Once my profile got mixed up with don't know what and all the powers, gadgets, achievements, everything got unlocked. Though I enjoyed with coin duplicator and golden piggy back, but some achievements that I wanted to achieve fairly were unlocked. It fixed itself and now I have so less coins :P
    3. While offline, you have zero coins, I guess the profile is not saved on the device. :( I wish Halfbrick fixes this, though I have no hope.
  • Did this happen to anyone else, while playing suddenly my game got struck and then it became normal but with little surprise,everything got unlocked from clothing,gadgets,jetpacks everything and also got 1lakh coins ..might be some kind of bug but i am happy
  • same here, read my comment above. bad news: it's temporary :P
  • I know :P ,once everything got locked again(with internet turned on) next time when i played again everything got unlocked (internet turned on ).i got 1lakh coins .from next time i stopped playing with internet turned on,everything still unlocked.
    I think even u should try once with internet turned on to see weather this works(i mean unlocking everything):P
  • Bug has destroyed my coin collection to the point that I cannot earn anymore coins. I have a ticket open with their support. No reply yet..
  • Love this game but I still cannot reach that 5km achievement. :(
  • Kirk - I just got it.  I followed the tips on that site linked in the article, and then I ended up picking up 6 final spin tokens.  One of those game me the 'atomic blast' power-up and another gave me the second life power-up.  And I still just made it over 5k ;)
    As a fun, little game - what are each of y'all's best distance and total distance?
    Best distance: 5,401m
    Total distance: 327,418m
  • Does it run in HD or at 800*480?
  • Hard to say since the game features a pixel-based art style, so it looks identical to all other platforms. But title screens look crisp enough that I think it is running in HD.
  • Great game, but it's got some serious glitches which I suspect are connected to Xbox Live integration. There are a number of issues:
    1) Frequently newly selected jetpacks, clothing and gadgets reset to what you had previously. When it happens is a bit random but usually sticks to what you set by the second or third game.
    2) Occassionally, in the middle of a game the title screen will pop up. Restarting just picks up where the game was interrupted, which sometimes can be used as an exploit.
    3) Coin count sometimes changes. If I've lost coins I haven't noticed anything dramatic. But I have had several situations where I recovered a lot of the coins I had spent on a new item. Once or twice I've purchased a jetpack or something, play a game and when I get back I have most of my money back. Once I had it happen three times in a row which allowed me to buy a couple of jetpacks and outfits. It's unreliable but it can be an exploit.
      The weird thing is that I played this game in Windows 8 long before it was available on Windows Phone and never had a problem. Only in the past week, going back to the Windows 8 version have I've been seeing the same exact problems I experienced in Windows Phone. This is why I'm blaming Xbox Live. Apple's Game Center so far has had a more flawless track record.
  • the bug where you restart at the middle of the game only occurs when you suddenly lose internet connection hoe this helps answer some problems
  • Where is this Counterfeit Machine you speak of?
  •  its in 'The Stash' in 'Get Coins.'
  • Thank I swear I couldn't find it anywhere lol
  • Thanks for the help with the last achievement.  I was finally able to get it after trying a bunch of times with different combinations of gadgets.  I could get to 4,000+ but never any further and was just able to get 8,929!  As a side note I have never heard of True Achievement and I am loving the site!
  • Fun game, though load times soar sky high when it can't connect to Xbox Live, such as in the subway. It makes the start up and the death screen super slow to load, as it looks like it wants an internet connection. It also seems to mess up with the saves a bit.
  • I am surprised no-one has menioned the terrible graphics on this game. Its addictive as hell, but the resolution is crappy on my Luma 920. I have also noticed this with other games like Temple Run, but here its especially bad. The stills and menu screens are fine, but the game itself is very smudged.
  • Love it, got all achievements
  • Hey Paul,i spent two hours to get 69 coins but didn't get any achievement which you mentioned (tee hee two) screenshot:!2209&authkey=!ALg...
  • That's a shame. Were you connected to the internet while playing? If that particular Achievement has glitched for you, then you might have to reinstall the game in order to get it. But I wouldn't do that until you've accomplished everything else first.
  • Yeah i was connected to internet.....guess I'll just let it go
  • well you phone is broken because I got it
  • has anybod else noticed that aple devices that can play jetpack joyride has way more  things in the stash at way lower prices?  i want to know why but either way this is still my favorite game on my phone
  • It's a lot of trouble to update Xbox WP games with new content due to the Xbox Live certification process. As a result, WP versions of games often lag behind iOS versions as far as updates go.