The endless runner game has become an App Store staple. But this is a game type where the mechanics are so often repeated that a single wrong move in the design department can unbalance the whole enterprise and ruin everything. Few have perfected the endless runner formula as well as Jetpack Joyride.
Its premise is simple. You are Barry Steakfries, who has just broken into a secret lab to nick the machinegun jetpack used to propel you through the game. This being an endless runner, it's impossible to escape the secret lab, but you can have a damn good stab at it.
A touch on the screen fires machine gun bullets out of the jetpack, propelling you up into the sky. To stay alive, you have to dodge the electrified forcefields and missiles that litter your path. During each run, you collect coins that can be used to buy power-ups and bonuses in future runs, and you'll also come across vehicles that can help you add a few hundred metres to your top scores.
Only once you start competing with friends to try and beat their top Game Center scores will you know quite how dangerously addictive this game can be. Even without friends to spar with, an excellent objective-based mission structure will keep you hooked for hours.
The year's best endless runner game is charming, addictive and masterfully-designed.