The makers of Fruit Ninja struck gold with their second big hit in Jetpack Joyride. It has been ranked #1 in the app store for most downloaded game. In this game, the player takes control of a grizzled, adventurous man that gets his hands on a jetpack and travels through a top-secret scientific laboratory. The point of the game is simple: get as far as you can (measured in meters), while avoiding obstacles and collecting coins. The game features missions to complete, powerups to obtain in order to get a temporary vehicle upgrade, and an in-game store to purchase goodies with the coins you collected.
The game’s developers utilized a number of strategies to successfully make Jetpack Joyride endlessly addicting. Starting simple, the game’s mechanics are nearly identical to that seen in the popular game called Helicopter, where the player continuously makes a series of adjusting clicks to move up and down. In Jetpack Joyride, all you must do is tap the screen more to go up and release it to go down. Due to the popularity of Helicopter, the game dons familiar mechanics that are easy to pick up. Many people are uncomfortable with change and new things, so the familiarity that Jetpack Joyride breeds definitely provides an advantage. Aside from that, it also incorporates missions that will earn you a higher rank and give you more coins. The missions give the game meaning and gives the players something to strive for, as opposed to just aimlessly playing over and over again. When objectives are present, it leaves the player wanting to complete more and more of them.
For those of you who love the idea of leveling up and advancing character ability, Jetpack Joyride offers that, as well. The coins that are collected can be used towards upgrading equipment and vehicles among various other perks. The leveling up system is a very popular technique (as this class also exhibits a leveling up grading system). As was mentioned in the Words with Friends post, an aspect about games that gets people so involved is the leaderboard aspect that allows you to compare scores with friends. The game has an attached feed to an OpenFeint account that allows you to view statistics about your time playing the game and to compare scores with friends.
As we learned in class, some of the most important characteristics of a game are clear rules, having a feedback system, and having a goal. Jetpack Joyride does a fantastic job of incorporating all of these with its familiar Helicopter-like mechanics, its mission system, and goal of getting as far as you can and topping your high score with every respective play. It has a lot of player-to-player interaction with its leaderboard feature, which allows for a competitive environment. It is no wonder that this game is one of the most popular in the app store.