584735_larger-1Take a quick gander at the App Store's top apps, and you'll see an astonishingly large amount of Minecraft-like games. Whether its emulating its visuals or open-world sandbox gameplay, it's obvious that the genre is hot on iOS. Take Junk Jack for example, an excellent 2D sandbox game that did a good job recreating that spirit of exploration and self-discovery. Now, nearly two years after its release the folks at PixBits saw fit to release Junk Jack X [$4.99]. With a greater emphasis on accessibility and an all-important multiplayer mode, Junk Jack X does a great job of expanding on the original without changing what made the original successful.

Fans of the original Junk Jack are going to feel right at home with Junk Jack X. The same exploration-based item-crafting gameplay inspired by the likes of Minecraft and Terraria makes a return. The charming visuals and excellent soundtrack also make a come back in improved fashion. In fact, from a superficial standpoint one might argue that Junk Jack X looks a bit too similar to its predecessor. However, once you actually get into the game, fans will see that the the iterative improvements make the overall experience far better.

screen1136x1136-15

While we loved the original Junk Jack, one of the things we noted (for better or worse) was its steadfast adherence to sandbox gameplay. The lack of substantive goals, completely open-world game play -- even the game's minimalist tutorials all spoke to a game that almost forced its players to discover everything. With Junk Jack X, there's a conscious attempt made to expand on accessibility. The game's expanded tutorial, while text heavy, does a great job of introducing new players to the sheer depth offered. Meanwhile, Simplified Crafting is another great feature that offers players an opportunity to craft with in a recipe-oriented fashion vice the traditional grid crafting mode.

Meanwhile, a more robust Adventure Mode provides some overarching goals that were sorely missed in the original Junk Jack. There are even a few interesting items in the game's IAP shop, such as hats that randomly drop various materials along with easy unlocks for the game's recipe book and the planets that are discovered in Adventure Mode. While I didn't think any of the optional purchases were necessary in the slightest, they still provide the possibility of even more accessibility for players (for a price).

screen1136x1136-16

Multiplayer, however, is probably the biggest addition to Junk Jack X. Using Game Center, players can host or join games either locally or online. While randomized matchmaking is available, I didn't have the most fun time with it as I'd constantly be put into worlds with players constructing elaborate death traps so I'd instantly die upon joining their world -- letting them collect my items upon my death. Still, multiplayer is amazing it with friends, and to be honest the vast majority of folks will probably only fire it up with a willing buddy.

Otherwise, Junk Jack X is really just more of the same that made the original an iOS darling. Sure, there are more items to craft, more enemies to fight and more elements to explore in your randomly generated world but the core exploration concepts are the same. For folks simply looking for a sequel that simply adds more without rocking the proverbial boat, Junk Jack X is an excellent sequel. However, it's important to note that despite the accessibility features integrated into Junk Jack X, it's still not going to bring clarity to players that find sandbox games overwhelming.

TouchArcade Rating

StarStarStarStarStar
  • lepke

    Loving it :)

    Keep up the good work devs!!

  • RamazAdelphos

    Good it got the 5 stars it deserves :) unlike the original Junk Jack :/:(

  • drkhrse

    Love these guys. They continually improved the original Junk Jack far more than they had to and is one of the few devs that I have no problem buying IAP for their hard work.

  • evilelvis

    I am really trying to like this, given all the rave reviews, but I honestly think its crap; I'm clearly missing something, can anyone enlighten me?

    • flashbackflip

      It depends on what you are missing ;)

    • yippers

      Depends. If you're more goal-oriented, you might be missing those. If you're more combat-oriented, more interesting monsters don't appear until much deeper in the game. If you're not a sandbox gamer... well then. In its genre, JJ2's pretty great and imho really delivers exactly what I was craving. What expectations did you have for it?

    • http://ask.fm/MidianGTX MidianGTX

      Creativity.

    • mantenner

      Omfg I was thinking the same thing man, so hyped up but I think it's bloody boring

    • imdakine1

      I wasn't sure what to expect since I'm new with the genre but I have to say although it has a steep learning curve on what to do with some items for draft in I absolutely LOVE this game and am hooked. I haven't played Terraria but am happy with my choice!

  • BillyOceansBlues

    Haha "elaborate death traps" to steal items. That is why I hate multiplayer in almost all games. Overrun with power-nerds on some crazy high-level exploitative power trip that is always malicious in nature. Thanks but no thanks. Game looks cool though.

    • Gfish

      Well, you don't really need to play on someone else's world, for that matter. Keeping a multi-only side world has worked fine for me so far. Plus, you won't lose anything on your hotbar or armor slots, so there's ways to prevent death traps from being very destructive.

    • yippers

      Play with friends. :p

  • JJE McManus

    I can't put this game down.
    PixBits has has steadily improved their software. I can understand some people's difficulty with JJ in general. It's not a game that wants to hold your hand. That can be a problem since the sheer volume of junk you pick up is daunting. However the title splash page has access to their wiki and their forums.
    JJX is, like its predecessor, a game of finding what happens if you dig a bit deeper or roam a bit further from your base. As such it's more akin to minecraft than anything else. The addition of multiplayer and planets expands it from simple world building into something far deeper.
    The strategies you evolve for dealing with mobs and obstacles are yours and not something dictated by the software. Understanding that the perils you face will always be present no matter how well armed and armored you are yields a game where exploring is the primary challenge.
    Not a casual pick up and play game but rather one where you must plan and scheme before your next major dig or voyage to another planet. If that appeals to you, expect to set aside hours to play.
    I can't recommend JJX highly enough.

    • flashbackflip

      Quite true in a nutshell

    • Gustav

      Too bad some players used to casual games already complained in a loud voice about the difficulty and now the devs are going to nerf it. Seems you cannot make money with hard games on iOS.

    • imdakine1

      I love this game but agree 100% that it is a bit challenging to grasp what to do with all the items I'm accumulating! Forums, wiki, and plain trial & error seems to help!

  • Juroku

    I'd like to point out that JJ was not inspired by Terraria, but were inspired by Minecraft. The devs commented that they had not known about Terraria when they were making their game, but they have played Terraria since then and say it is also a good game.

  • patrickleeadams

    Should I get Terraria or Junk Jack X?

    • yippers

      There's reviews for both now ;)

    • Tangles

      Difficult question. Terraria is much more user friendly and more adventurous. Kind of like an adventure game. more so than sandbox. Junk jack x from the gameplay I've seen is less adventure oriented an more, well, sandbox-y. It also takes much longer to figure out so if you like that then get jjx.

  • riChchestMat

    The bit I'm not getting is why I should get this if I have Junk Jack with some of the IAPs and I am not interested in the multiplayer. Can I port my Jack from the first game? What's new that makes it worth an almost double dip?
    If you never had the first game the choice is clear cut obviously.

    • themostunclean

      New worlds, customization, new items to craft, liquids, pre-fab armor sets.

      I own both and that's only a short list if all the things that make JJX worth it. Plus it'll be getting tons if updates and the original won't.

  • TexRob406

    The thing that I am waiting for is shared worlds via iCloud. I hate not having my world on my iPad and my iPhone. Other than that, the game is great. I haven't gotten Terraria, as I played it into the ground on PC, but I reccomend both. Maybe get one now, and then down the road pick up the other. I like Junk Jack's graphics better, but Terraria had a lot of fun design and mechanics. Some of the fights in Terraria seem like they could be hard on an iOS device, so I wonder how that is.

    • themostunclean

      You can share world and character .dat files between devices using iTunes file sharing or device file manager in iexplorer. I prefer iExplorer, it's more intuitive.

      • TexRob406

        Yeah, I am aware of this, thanks for sharing, but if I want to play for 15 minutes at work, I don't want to do 5 minutes of work when I get home just to sync that. Hopefully it's coming.

      • themostunclean

        Yeah it's a bit of a pain but I don't really like playing on the iPhone anyway. Feels way too cramped.

    • imdakine1

      I read the other touch arcade forum for this game and unfortunately it doesn't sound line cloud will ever be created fit this game!!! Sux... I think it works be awesome especially since it is a universal app and being able to switch from
      iPad to iPhone and back would be perfect!

  • mantenner

    I hate this game it's so boring, I bought this and terraria straight after each other, prefer terraria so mug more

    • Corey Reynolds

      I had this exact same feeling, and was even mad at the person who recommended JJX and made me buy it. Then I read the entire tutorial, slept on it, and tried it again in the morning. Junk Jack is now my favorite game.

  • Shazain

    Hey guys PLZ help Junk Jack X or Terraria

  • anabolicMike

    The first one was great. This one is even better. Good work devs.

  • D&Dgames

    It rubbish do not spend money on it

  • D&Dgames

    Only joking it well worth the money it keeps me occupied for hours keep up the good work

  • SealKingSyX

    Is it worth it to buy the crafting book for 99 cents or do u get blueprints easily? I just dont want o build stuff and not have access to really cool things.

    • SealKingSyX

      Game keeps crashing

Junk Jack X Reviewed by Eric Ford on . Rating: 5