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Released in 2011, the original Jetpack Joyride was a huge mobile hit for developer Halfbrick, who already had a huge hit with 2010’s Fruit Ninja. The game was ported to many platforms, including the PlayStation console, and was still receiving updates until a month ago. Even for hit games, sequels aren’t inevitable in the mobile world, as most of them are seen as ongoing platforms, but Halfbrick surprise announced Jetpack Joyride 2 over a year ago…and then it’s gone .

Despite the release of a trailer and the official channel sharing details about the game, Jetpack Joyride 2 went dark shortly after its release. It turns out that Halfbrick is working out the details with Apple to make it an Apple Arcade game. “We started making this game a long time ago,” product manager and lead game designer Francisco Gonzalez told us shortly after Apple announced the game was coming to its subscription platform. “That way we can really make the games we want to create. We focus on making games fun and forget about business models and IAPs for a while [in-app purchases]. “

Play now: Jetpack Joyride 2 Apple Arcade Trailer

In Jetpack Joyride 2, you can still move left to right while avoiding obstacles, but there are a lot of changes from the first game. Protagonist Barry Steakfries now automatically fires while flying, and new power-ups and vehicles (and old favorites) mix the action, but there’s one major mix that changes the course of the entire game. “It’s no longer an endless runner. It’s a big change,” said lead artist Tony Martin.

Jetpack Joyride 2 features levels, bosses, and something increasingly rare in mobile: the ending. “If you’re good enough, you’ll find it,” Gonzalez said. As you play the level, you have to hit a certain score threshold, and when you do, it kicks off a boss fight. For example, the first boss appears wearing a giant mech, and you have to dodge their missiles and target their weak spots as Barry shoots. There are multiple bosses and labs to explore, and there’s something called Factory Mode that lets Barry team up with friendly scientists to build a base where you can make upgrades.

Barry Steakfries has used weapons in his other Halfbrick games, but never in Jetpack Joyride.
Barry Steakfries has used weapons in his other Halfbrick games, but never in Jetpack Joyride.

The art style is also different from the original, far from the retro pixelation of the original, closer to more modern cartoon art and animation. “We ran multiple tests to find the right playstyle,” Martin said. The team wanted it to look closer to the animated shorts it made for YouTube, with the new style also allowing for more fluidity and detail.

Between levels and upgrades, disasters also occur, which are side quests completed by Barry. Gonzalez teases where a tentacle monster attacks your base and must be knocked back. One of the new vehicles is also a spaceship that will take you into space to fight asteroids.

This boss character is part of the Minotaur whose levels take place underground.
This boss character is part of the Minotaur whose levels take place underground.

The new progression creates some space for stories and dialogue. Barry Steakfires will get some backstory, and there’s a playable female version of Barry from an alternate universe called Betty Beefpies. Gonzalez promises her character, and another universe will be explored in the game’s story.

While the first game had an endless runner legacy, Jetpack Joyride 2 won’t have an endless mode at launch. “We definitely know some fans will be asking for an endless mode, and that’s something we’re working on,” Gonzalez said. Of course, our intention is to maintain the game for the next few months. We will be releasing an update and it will be one of the updates we will add soon. “

Certain vehicles will take Barry to space.
Certain vehicles will take Barry to space.

In addition to dropping the endless runner aspect of the game for the sequel, moving to Apple Arcade means Halfbrick no longer has to worry about microtransactions or long-term monetization, something Gonzalez is very happy about. “In free-to-play, you have to add some paywall or you have to slow down the player — that’s not happening anymore,” Gonzalez said. “When you make a free-to-play game, you have to spend most of your time thinking about monetization strategies, and with Apple Arcade, we don’t need to care, so we can focus on making our own game ideas.”

Jetpack Joyride 2 was released on August 19 on Apple Arcade on iOS devices, including Mac and Apple TV (controllers are compatible with all platforms), about 11 years after the first game was released.

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