Skip to main content

Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

"It's a little bit hard to work out without knowing the altitude of that dragon..."

If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Major Jetpack Joyride update rockets in

Plus, Halfbrick celebrates 1 million Fruit Ninja Kinect sales.

Horribly addictive smartphone timewaster Jetpack Joyride gets a major new update next month, developer Halfbrick has told Eurogamer.

Update 1.3 adds a new gadgets feature that lets you equip doomed protagonist Barry with various upgrades that effect how the game plays.

A few examples shown to us at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco today include Nerd Repellent that clears the screen of scientists, a rubber sphere that makes Barry bounce around the screen and a gizmo that slows down gravity.

You'll unlock them by trading in coins collected in the game, and can equip up to two at once.

"We've had vehicles, the missions, the utilities, the Final Spin, the coins, the costumes - everything has been to increase the longevity of the game, to let people customise their game, get a sense of achievement and value," explained marketing boss Phil Larsen.

"But nothing yet has really been functional - it's been cosmetic. We've had plans for a while to do that so we've designed the gadget system. Bassicaly, it gives players the ability to change up how they play.

"People play for a few reasons - collecting coins, completing missions and getting high scores. For coins, we've got gadgets for that, like the coin magnet. For completing missions, we've got stuff like the Nerd Repellent that gets rid of scientists. And for scores, we've got the Instaball and the Freeze-o-Matic that turns you to ice and lets you slide further when you die.

"All of these thing stack so you can potentially get some massive scores."

Larsen added that he's confident the new items won't unbalance the game.

"No. We've tested it all up. The gadgets took a long time to make. It comes down to a lot of testing, a lot of iteration and good design."

And Halfbrick has more planned in the imminent future. More costumes and additional content will follow shortly after in a 1.31 update.

Larsen also revealed that while it's still a way off matching breakout hit Fruit Ninja's success, the game now has an impressive 16 million players.

Its recent Kinect-friendly Xbox Live Arcade version of Fruit Ninja is doing solid business too - that's now passed the one million sales mark.