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Gaming Under the Influence: Jetpack Joyride

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I’ve been recovering from a series of oral surgeries for the past few weeks. Most of that time consisted of lying on my back, waiting for the general anesthesia to wear off, discovering how yummy Vicodin is, and thinking about what kind of work I could do while lying on my back completely drugged up. After being unable to think of anything beyond becoming a ceiling painter, I just played video games.

By K Valentine

Since my brain was too drug-addled to remember how to control most FPS, action, fighting, or strategy games, I looked for Playstation 3 games with simple controls and interesting game play to kill time when I wasn’t passed out or eating cups of applesauce sprinkled with crushed Vicodin.

Jetpack Joyride

(Halfbrick Studios; Free on PSN and most smart phones & tablets.)

From the creators of the brutal fruit slashing simulator “Fruit Ninja” comes this strangely addictive, side-scrolling action game better suited for portable casual gaming still a fun time killer on a console, especially when anesthesia makes your eyes unable to focus on the tiny screens of most phones.

Playing as Barry, you steal a jetpack that propels you through the lab that was storing it. You then simply control your ascent and descent while dodging traps and collecting.

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While lying on my couch with a PS3 controller in my hands and anesthesia reducing my motor skills to those of a particularly intelligent house plant, I was grateful for the simplistic controls of Jetpack Joyride. All it takes is one prolonged press of a PS3 controller button for Barry to ascend and a release of the button for Barry to descend. It’s a simple visual joy watching Barry rise, fall, and inevitably get zapped by a laser or blown out of the air by missile that I couldn’t see since the game loves to speed up the side-scrolling to ramp the difficulty, making it harder to see and react to the various approaching traps.

Seeing how far Barry can go is enough of a challenge alone. But there are plenty of optional missions that force Barry to be more precise with his joyrides, which keep the game interesting. Additionally, all of the allocated coins can be spent on gadgets and boosts to change the gameplay as well as costumes and other jetpacks for cosmetic purposes and achievements.

Jetpack Joyride Complaints

If there were any major faults, I’d say “Jetpack Joyride” can be a little too simple. During the first night after surgery, I was randomly pressing X while sleeping off the anesthesia. When I regained consciousness after a few hours, I noticed that I completed all of the missions and Barry’s jetpack now shot rainbows instead of machine gun bullets.
But I wasn’t complaining, so I played some more until Barry could afford a top hat while I waited for the Vicodin to dissolve in my breakfast milkshake.

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