Game Reviews

Jetpack Jinx

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| Jetpack Jinx
Jetpack Jinx
| Jetpack Jinx

Aside from the rather marvellous Sonic Jump (yes, I said 'marvellous' and 'Sonic' in the same sentence, despite this not being 1991) it's been a lean time for the endless vertical platformer genre.

Perhaps that could be because the pinnacle of the sub-genre - Doodle Jump - is hard to improve on, so hardly anybody tries.

Jetpack Jinx's gravity mechanics and emphasis on zany power-ups do help it to stand out, while its cartoony looks make it ideal for younger audiences. Yet the steep difficulty and freemium costs could give less casual players a nasty case of vertigo.

With a bump

Weird little alien chap, Jinx, has crash landed on a dangerous planet - complete with carnivorous plants - and needs to launch himself back into orbit before his dastardly boss finds out he's gone off-mission.

Unceremoniously spat out vertically by one of the toothier pieces of greenery at the start of the game, Jinx is only able to keep soaring if he collects precious jewels to power his jet pack.

Ascending ever higher on nothing but a gem and a prayer makes for mostly solid, devilishly addictive gameplay.

You control Jinx by simply tilting your device from side-to-side, following trails of shiny objects into the sky. The only things in your way are falling hazards and enemies that have an irksome ability to appear just when you thought you were safe.

Unless you can swing Jinx into another gem in time, one knock will be enough to send him tumbling back to earth. Losing the trail of precious stones is equally disastrous, so choosing a safe path calls for strong nerves and sharp skills.

What goes up

Unfortunately, the simplicity of the first stage soon gives way to a bombardment of baddies that significantly shorten each escape effort.

Making headway quickly starts to rely on power-ups, like rockets to give you a head start, helmets to temporarily protect Jinx's bonce, and lasers to zap enemies away. You can aquire single-use ones by simply grinding for in-game cash, but multi-packs and more powerful boosts will need an in-app purchase to become affordable.

They're not too pricey, and watching Jinx blast through waves of baddies with a cheeky grin on his face is satisfying, for a while at least. Casual players won't mind being given a helping hand to the end, either, although serious jumpers will be pining for a longer game that demands razor-sharp reflexes over easy option power-ups.

Jetpack Jinx

A mostly welcome shot in the arm for the vertical platformer that, like a good sugar rush, only wears off when you need to keep buying more to give you a boost