Jetpack Fighter IconHi-Rez Studios seems to be diversifying their portfolio. In addition to bringing back Tribes in 2011, they worked on SMITE, the action-oriented MOBA, and now, a rather un-imposing mobile game. I have to say though, if Jetpack Fighter [Free] is indicative of their future imprint on the platform, bring it on.

The concept is easy to pick up, which gels well with its free pricepoint. You play the role of the titular Jetpack Fighter, cruising through a futuristic city to destroy evil. Movement and attacks are one and the same, allowing you to traverse the air with ease. And basically, that's it. Level layouts are very similar to a platforming game, but you can hover and fly at will to traverse them, so they're not particularly tricky. Enemies are scattered about to keep things interesting though, and evolve as you make your way across the game's story mode map.

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Jetpack Fighter uses a control scheme that feels native to touch devices, and only takes a few seconds to learn. There's no clunky d-pad -- all you do is swipe at the proper area, and said fighter will swoop in that direction -- there's no annoying slingshot effect, you just move in the direction you want. Since attacking and movement are all in one smooth motion, it's easy to go anywhere you want on any given map. You can also hold, aim, and release to trigger a super dash, which has unique effects for each character. It adds a strategic element as standing still can put you in harm's way, but definitely pays off if you can slam into multiple foes. That's key, too, because hitting enemies in rapid succession will ensure that your combo chain is intact.

The visual style is bright and cartoony, giving off a modern Mega Man (or more recently, a Mighty No. 9 or 'Splosion Man) vibe,  complete with enemies that mostly consist of robots. Humanoid boss characters also put up a fight, and are the best parts of the game as you're flying through the air trying to battle your equal. Levels are usually set to the tune of roughly a minute or less, which makes it very easy to pick up and play -- and likely geared towards its energy system. It's a mixed bag, but for the most part, Hi-Rez is fair with it. Equipment feels tertiary to the experience, and even outright pointless sometimes, and I only had to occasionally go back and replace items after long sessions.

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Fighter has a ton of IAP, which can be ignored for the most part, but does pop up every so often. For starters, energy is a go, even if you happen to make an IAP payment. It seems fairly generous in that it regenerates every 10 minutes or so, but that's only for one heart, and eight are required for most levels. If at all possible, I'd rather see the system eliminated entirely. Elsewhere, gold and gems can be purchased in the typical increments. Gems are the premium currency that essentially funnel into everything else, granting more plays or gold, which allow you to unlock more fighters. The energy gimmick is more acceptable when you account for free gems earned through gameplay, which I immediately funneled back into hearts.

If you're into platformers, I'd give Jetpack Fighter a try. Don't let the free bit scare you off though, as you can get pretty far in without having to wait or spend a dime.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • chief78

    This game is pretty sweet. Agreed though, a permanent way to get rid of the energy system would be very welcome.

  • LordShad0wz

    How far did the reviewer play? Later levels require 16 hearts. 16. A way to make a one time payment to dump the energy system should be done. And then you make a purchase and still have the energy system with no change to it?

  • Mike Walko

    I've really been enjoying this game. I've never been bothered by energy timers, as there's always something else to play in the interim. I'm still sitting on all my free premium currency with nothing remotely tugging at my stash to spend it on. This is pretty much by ideal of free to play done right.

  • Themagicjesus

    Really think the horrid energy system should be a bigger point. I remember the days when game developers weren't intentionally preventing people from playing their game.

    • LordShad0wz

      Amen!

  • Thomas Claessens

    It's not out in Europe unfortunately. Atleast not in Belgium.

    • pinta_vodki

      Not available in Russia either. Bummer.

  • Fastbridge

    This gets 4.5 stars and venture kid gets 3.5. SMH

  • Fudda

    Not available in the german appstore too. I wonder why...

  • Sebastian Gomez

    1 heart every ten minutes made me delete the game as soon as I ran out of energy. Other than that annoying feature, gameplay is quite fun (maybe too simple and short, but still fun) and visuals are great.

    Maybe adding IAP to get rid of timers or just making them 1/3 of their current wait state, would make me change my mind and download again.

    For now, I'll avoid it and keep playing something else.

  • Mitchell Hancock

    Not on Android.

    • UnsightlyWalrus

      It is now.

Jetpack Fighter Reviewed by Chris Carter on . Rating: 4.5