GDC 2011: Hands on with Halfbrick's next hit Machine Gun Jetpack

Running joke

GDC 2011: Hands on with Halfbrick's next hit Machine Gun Jetpack

There have been plenty of good endless running games for iPhone and iPod touch, but I guarantee you that there's nothing quite like Machine Gun Jetpack.

Yes, it's the only game with a jetpack fuelled by the rapid firing of a machine gun, but that's not what really sets this new game from Australian developer Halfbrick apart from the crowd. It's not even main man Barry Steakfries and his over-the-top sense of humour.

Machine Gun Jetpack grabs your attention by way of its insanity. This hilariously original endless running game places a priority on fun, combining creative power-ups, tricky obstacles, and some polish to give it a quality feel.

Jetpack propulsion

Following the events of twin-stick shooter Age of Zombies, the game starts with leading man Barry Steakfries fleeing from a mad scientist's laboratory. You guide Barry by firing bullets from a machine gun jetpack, which lifts him into the air.

Touching the screen is enough to rocket Barry upwards to evade electric nodes and hot laser beams. As you jet about the scene, bullets raze the scientists running on the ground below, adding to your point total.

Of course, the ultimate goal is to travel as far as possible and you're aided by a handful of kooky power-ups. The Crazy Freaking Teleporter, for example, enables you to instantly move from one point to the next. Miniature mech the Lil' Stomper allows you to trample through scientists while hopping over obstacles.

Up, upgrade, and away

While power-ups appear randomly, you can equip different jetpacks and bonus items purchased with coins in the game's shop. For instance, there's a shotgun jetpack that jerkily pumps Barry up through the air, while the steam-powered jetpack offers an industrial ride.

When you fail, a fun little slot machine fills the screen that potentially grants a second chance at life. Line up icons and you can get a second life, coins, or another goody.

By virtue of its over-the-top style, Machine Gun Jetpack should have no trouble standing out from the endless runner crowd. The range of power-ups, items, and jetpack upgrades ensure good variety, not to mention incentive for coming back to earn coins to unlock every last prise.

Machine Gun Jetpack will be available for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad as a universal download this summer; no price has yet been announced.
Tracy Erickson
Tracy Erickson
Manning our editorial outpost in America, Tracy comes with years of expertise at mashing a keyboard. When he's not out painting the town red, he jets across the home of the brave, covering press events under the Pocket Gamer banner.