Game Review: Jetpack Joyride (PSP Mini)

This is one of those rare games that you will find covered several times here on Vita Player. Not only has it been released for the PS Vita, but also – as is the case with this review – as part of the Minis range. I won’t go into too much detail about the game itself as you can find out everything you need to know from my review of the PS Vita version here but the question for Vita owners is whether or not the PSP version is worth considering as an alternative or additional purchase…

Unlike every other version of the game, this is actually a paid for release, costing £3.49 from the PSN Store. Where all the other releases (including the PS3 and PS Vita) are free but include options to purchase coins for use during the game using micropayments from the PSN store, after making a single payment for the game, there’s nothing more to pay. Initially, that may make you think that you are getting a considerably better deal with the Minis version, until you take a closer look at what you actually get for your money…

With all of the free versions of the game, the coins that you purchase are completely optional. Everything that can be bought during the game only require coins and these can be built up over time. While it will take a lot longer to build them up just from playing the game, it can be done so if you want to do it that way you can. So for the Minis release, you would expect there to be some bonus to the gamer to offset the fact that payment is required as standard. Sadly, that isn’t the case. In fact, there is no benefit whatsoever from paying to own this game – there is no increase in the rate at which you earn coins, no starter gadgets, no jetpacks already in your posession other than the default machine gun jetpack and no new gadgets or jetpacks to show that the game has been enhanced in any way. In fact, it is the total opposite.

The game itself plays identically to its free counterparts but instead of using the touchpad or screen as with the Vita version, this release simply uses the X button to control the jetpack itself and the other action buttons and d-pad to navigate the game’s menus. As before, as you play through the game and collect coins, these can be exchanged in the Stash area for new jetpacks and gadgets to make life easier during the game… and this is where the game really fails as a conversion. Looking through these menus in the shop, there are a number of items that are notable by their absence. Some of them prove to be extremely useful in the other versions of the game so why they have been omited from this version is beyond me. It doesn’t stop the game from being fun to play still, but if you’re familiar with any of the other versions that are out there, you can’t help but feel more than a little short-changed by the whole thing.

The graphics and sound are great and the PSPs screen size works perfectly for this sort of game. There’s no sign of the lag or slowdown that plagues the mobile or web versions of the game, and the sound levels for the effects seem more clearly balanced here, making for a more aesthetically pleasing version of the game, certainly a better experience in that respect than the PS3. But sadly this is marred by the restricted gameplay. The controls make it play like a dream, but with a free version available for the Vita that looks better and isn’t lacking anything, I’d have to steer clear of this one. Sadly, despite the potential that the Minis range offered to be able to bring a superb adaptation to the market, this appears rushed and the developers who were tasked to convert it on behalf of Halfbrick have delivered a sub-standard conversion which I really can’t recommend when there are better ports available.

Simon Plumbe

At A Glance

  • Title: Jetpack Joyride
  • Publisher: Halfbrick Studios
  • System: PSP Mini
  • Format: PSN Download
  • Cross Buy: No
  • Online Multiplayer: No
  • Local Multiplayer: No
  • Memory Card Space Needed: 21Mb

UPDATE

Since this review was originally written, the game has been updated on the PSN Store (literally within 8 days of my original purchase and little over two months after its initial release) and not only has the price been halved, but has now been updated to include 50,000 starter coins which is actually cheaper than paying for 50,000 coins on the PS3 or PS Vita release. However, with the game still being a cut-down version from all of its counterparts it still isn’t quite as good value for money as it may seem.

Also, for some strange reason, SCEE are still offering the original version of the Minis release through the store for the full price of £3.49 and there has been no upgrade to this version of additional coins so if you do decide to purchase this from the store, make sure you buy the correct edition.

 

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