Jetpack Joyride saved my vacation. This past week I took a trip back home to visit the family. I was busy – it was one of those visits where you randomly find yourself with nothing to do for fifteen minutes at a time. I had brought my new Nintendo 3DS with me, hoping to slide some game time in-between the cracks of my busy schedule. However, I ended up obsessing over my iPhone and Halfbrick’s new Jetpack Joyride during most of my alone time.

You may already be familiar with Jetpack Joyride. We recently interviewed the developer at PAX. Throughout development, the game was titled Machine Gun Jetpack, and while the game has lost this more amusing moniker, it retains an addictive yet easy-to-play style that Halfbrick has fine-tuned with games like Fruit Ninja and Raskulls. I showed it to a few friends during dinner, one night, and I didn’t get my phone back until the battery was dead.

The game stars Barry Steakfries, a born rebel who breaks into a lab to steal a prototype machine gun jetpack. The second the game starts, Barry is off and running with the jetpack, avoiding electrified traps and missiles, while collecting enough coins to make Scrooge McDuck jealous. The game’s controls are simple, tap the screen to make Barry fly up, let go and he floats to the ground. Barry automatically races forward, so it’s up to you to avoid deadly obstacles and collect upgrades.

Throughout this flurried journey, you’ll be able to collect vehicles that assist you in a variety of ways. For example, the Profit Bird is a small bird-like plane that swallows coins in its beak. The gravity suit, which lets you flip gravity like a coin, will allow you to run across the ceiling. A variety of utility items are also available for purchase, and these range from alternate jetpacks to items that shoot you forward several hundred feet every time you begin a new game to vehicle upgrades that magnetically pull coins towards you.

However, it's Halfbrick’s mission system that really sucked me in. These achievement-style goals reward you for completing a variety of tasks ranging from the simple (start a new game three times) to the slightly more complex (change gravity 30 times in one game). Jetpack Joyride’s charms are immediately obvious to anyone who spends five minutes with the game, but this mission system really gives the title some legs and kept me coming back to see what my next challenge would be.

It’s to strike a balance between immediately amusement and long-lasting entertainment, but Halfbrick seems to have bottled that magic formula. Like many of the company’s other titles, Jetpack Joyride is a joy to play, and at less than a buck, you’re all but guaranteed to get your money’s worth.