PAX Prime 2011: Halfbrick Studios

Halfbrick Studios was on the PAX Prime floor showing off a couple new games, and we stopped by to check out the new offerings.  Let’s start with the new DLC for Fruit Ninja Kinect, titled “Storm Season.” I should begin by saying that I have been mostly skeptical at best when it comes to the Kinect; I’ve played it more than a handful of times and rarely had a good experience with it. That being said, I won’t deny I had fun playing this DLC pack for Fruit Ninja Kinect. It’s nothing revolutionary; that’s not going to be in question, but Halfbrick Studios has done a few things to fine tune the motion controls and expand the game.

In this DLC, you’ll get lightning instead of blades coming off the ends of your hands, new fruit, new achievements worth 50 gamerscore total, and what I thought to be the best addition to an otherwise flat game is PvP. Now when you have your friends over, you might have a few brews, swing your arms about and see who’s the best ninja; PvP is there for you. The DLC only cost $2, and for the addition of PvP, I’d say it’s honestly worth it to download this one if you’ve already got Fruit Ninja Kinect. It’s available now, and as I mentioned might make a good distraction at a party or get together. Check it out on XBLA.

The second game Halfbrick showed me was a new iPad release from them coming this Thursday called Jetpack Joyride, and it really is a joyride. It’s one of countless 99-cent titles available, but there is enough content here to keep you playing for quite sometime. Gameplay is pretty basic: you tap the screen to either keep your character afloat via the jetpack or to drop him back down to the ground. It’s simple, it works, and it’s fun. There’s a myriad of collectibles and upgrades which was nice to see, everything from clothing which will make no real difference in how the game plays, as well as seven Jetpacks that will be available at launch. The game does have other vehicles which is the only major gameplay altering mechanic (aside from a few power ups). The vehicles themselves are pretty cool; the one I was able to use was a Mech, which allows you to take an extra hit and offers a slightly different feeling to the way you bounce around the screen. Aside from upgrades to your various vehicles and character, Jetpack Joyride also has a nice challenges system set up, and a leaderboard to keep you interested, and addicted. I could see this being a big hit with fans of iPad games, as it’s not just a lot of fun, it’s cute, funny at times, and it has a lot of layers. Halfbrick says they will be constantly updating it with new challenges, and unlockable content. If you’re looking for a nice distraction, or you just need another 99 cent iPad game that’s worth the purchase, I’d check this one out.

Above is a developer diary (prior to the very smart name change) worth checking out. Jetpack Joyride launches September 1st on the iPad.

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