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DID YOU READ

Insert Credit: “Jetpack Joyride”

Insert Credit: “Jetpack Joyride”  (photo)

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Insert Credit endeavors to suss out where you should be allotting your video game allowance, sifting out a single title from many and crowning it as The One Game You Need to Get This Week. Don’t consider these reviews, gentle reader. Rather, think of Insert Credit as a mix of hands-on time, informed opinion and intuition.

For the week of September 1, 2011, you should insert credit into: “Jetpack Joyride.”

Let’s talk about elite iOS developers, shall we? Notching recurrent success on Apple’s iDevices is no mean feat, what with the sheer number of code monkeys trying to capture the attentions of folks in the market for new games. Then you factor in all the games that spike into the top of the charts but burn out all too fast. What you wind up is increasing respect for games like Rovio’s “Angry Birds” which has stayed in the upper echelons of the sales charts for months at a time. But, even though “Angry Birds” is the 800-lb. gorilla in the App Store, it’s only one game. It’s yet to be seen if Rovio can deliver another hit, even if it doesn’t reach the heights of “Angry Birds.”

That conundrum is what makes me tip my hat to Aussie developers Halfbrick. They’ve shown a canny insight for what makes for great portable gaming experiences and in the case of “Fruit Ninja Kinect,” they’ve managed to upscale one of their hits to HDTV via the Xbox 360 and have it feel just as good if not better in a new iteration.

Their latest effort shows the same intuitive sense of how to craft addictive yet rewarding gameplay that makes “Fruit Ninja” so satisfying. “Jetpack Joyride” operates on a simple premise: you steal a jetpack and romp through a never-ending high-tech lab, collecting coins and power-ups as you go. It’s an homage to the 16-bit period of home consoles, when titles like “Gunstar Heroes” and “Super Metroid” made the Genesis and SNES must-have machines. Lovingly animated pixel art and a jaunty chiptune theme song will hook you even if you were born far late to experience that era and the simplicity of the action will drag you into a powerful gravity that you won’t want to escape.

Barry Steakfries, Halfbrick’s Zelig-inspired mascot, steals an experimental jetpack which shoots a downward hail of machine gun bullets. You keep Barry aloft by tapping the screen and will need to weave through all manners of electrified zappers, homing missiles and flying laser beams for as long as you can. But even after you die, the gameplay continues. If you’ve collected a spin token, you’ll get a chance to grab extra rewards via a game-over slot machine. You’ll also get missions that level you up when accomplished and each level brings more coins to your stash. Said stash can be used to buy either cosmetic or functional tweaks to Barry’s gear, which gives you yet another motivator for playing.

That’s to say nothing of the various power-ups you get in the game–a Rocketeer-style gravity suit, a Harly-inspired motorcycle or a floating teleporter, to name just a few. Each has a slight tweak on the core mechanic but they all keep you hooked no matter what.

If you compare “Fruit Ninja” and “Jetpack Joyride,” they’re different in not only the way they’re played, but also in how they fit into your brain. “Fruit Ninja” amounts to an on-demand booty call, always there with accessible bananas when you want to stroke some fun into a few idle minutes. “Jetpack Joyride” gives you a relationship. You’re only going to succeed by concentrating and carving away chunks of time form other parts of your life. And the game gives you goals to work towards on multiple levels. You can still hit it and quit it, but the experience means much more if you keep it going as long as you can. It’s a hypnotic little game that pays back the $ 0.99 you spend on it with far more enjoyment that you thought possible.

What’s you high score in “Jetpack Joyride”? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Final Countdown

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

Uncle-Buck

Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…