So there's this girl called Joan, right? She's got blonde hair, a bandana, and an arsenal that would put Schwarzenegger to shame.
She's also got a knack for jumping between platforms and avoiding grisly, grindy gear death-traps. Which is handy because it seems like half the world, its mother, and celestial beings from another galaxy want her blood.
Why? Your guess is as good as mine. All we need to know is that Joan can run, jump, and shoot, and she'll be doing plenty of that if she's going to see the day through. Haven't I seen this before?
Maybe. Sorta. Kinda.
The game probably sounds familiar because we were treated to manly man, man-game John Mad Run from Happymagenta back in 2014. The games are largely similar, save for a few differences.
For one, Joan has a punching bag in her cell. It helps her get out the aggressions that go hand-in-hand with captivity, I suspect.
She has immediate access to power-ups like our good pal, Jetpack Barry. Joan can blitz through a chunk of the level like a Hadouken fireball, or turn into a bloodcrazed lunatic who obliterates enemies into gibs.
You need to collect enough coins to purchase these abilities of course, and at the start of every run you get access to a convenient mini shop for a limited time which pops out the best bonuses of the bunch.
You can even collect some abilities on the go as they pop up in Mario Kart-esque question mark boxes.
Joan also has more weapons. Like, many, many more weapons. Everything from a plasma sword which soars like a boomerang, to a demonic, boar-faced autonomous weapon which vacuums enemy souls. The creativity in combat is much more apparent.
On top of that, the game is faster-paced, interspersed with more environment variety, and even comes with a boss battle or two.
Oh, and Joan is a woman. So different body parts and all that.
So it’s good, yeah?
Yeah, it's alright. It's quite meaty. There's plenty to unlock. It's fun in short blasts, and this is actually a sequel that does things better than the original. Even the soundtrack isn't annoying.
I've actually been sat here head-banging to it while writing this review.
The Game Centre achievements are brutal, and you will have to work a bit to get a weapon that does a decent job, but it remains entertaining and occasionally satisfying. And really, what more can you ask from a game like this?
How does it compare?
• John Mad Run – They’re both largely similar, but Joan has much more to unlock, is faster-paced, has power-ups, better boss-battles, juicier weapons, and she’s much cooler. So, there.
• Jetpack Joyride – While both games are similar, Jetpack feels more polished, has more to it with vehicles, and is just better presented. Also, it has a jetpack. Why wouldn’t it be better?
• Subway Surfers – Different angle, but similar concept. Olly and kickflip between lanes, trains, and automobiles. Better production values, but Joan can be more satisfying to play.