Jetpack Joyride is devilish in its simplicity. It doesn't do anything drastically new or different, but has an unmatched polish and an array of hooks that had me saying "one more time" until two hours passed. Don't worry, I, too, believe it's a bit sad I lost so much time playing such a simple game. At the same time, such an occurrence was only possible due to the game's high quality. Truly, Jetpack Joyride is a joy to ride. That lovingly wrote itself into mediocrity.
I know I have yet to mention the actual gameplay—which may or may not involve a jetpack—but patience is a virtue, much like respectability—which, for me, is fading at a rapid pace. With my philosophical requirements met, I may finally get down to business. Joyride is a standard "get as far as you can" game and doesn't do anything fundamentally new—you use your jetpack to avoid zappers, lasers, and missiles, while trying to get as far right as possible. A nice addition is super-powered vehicles/outfits that are acquired via power-ups scattered throughout each playthrough. These power-ups grant special abilities but, more importantly, give you what is essentially a one-use shield.
What makes Joyride so special, other than its high degree of polish, is how it keeps me coming back for more. Collecting coins during each playthrough and using them in a slot machine upon death is irrationally exciting. The slot machine does nothing more than grant an opportunity to win a variety of prizes from a head start in a future playthrough to a second chance in the current run. Another reason to keep returning is a constant stream of missions—such as high-fiving a specific number of scientists or reaching a designated area. In addition to all that, there are unlockables that can be bought with earned in-game coins, but coin packs are purchasable for the lazy and impatient. I don't mean to judge or offend, but I totally just judged your ass while being offensive all up in your face.
I never expected Jetpack Joyride to be a bad game—Halfbrick has proven themselves time and time again with games like Fruit Ninja, Monster Dash, and Raskulls—but I never expected to enjoy the game to such a ridiculous degree. I am admittedly a sucker for unlockables and leveling systems, and Joyride has both. Regardless of my being a sucker, Joyride is a steal at $0.99 and exactly what I want from an iOS game. A great final note: Joyride is a universal app, making an already great deal even better.
Jetpack Joyride (iOS Universal - $0.99)