Junk Jack X is cute, fun and compelling — once you put enough time into it.
Junk Jack X: On the plus side
We’re once again back in the creative crafting world, with a game that’s a sequel to a game that I never got around to playing. Sorry, original Junk Jack!
Still, we’re in 2D Minecraft territory here, alongside games such as the recently released Terraria for touchscreens, which means when you start, you’re surrounded by trees, dirt and not a whole lot else.
Not a whole lot else at all; Junk Jack X expects you to find out the interrelation between each of its systems, rewarding you as you play with new recipes, new things to craft and… yeah, this is quite standard stuff from a crafting perspective.
The thing that makes Junk Jack X compelling is that for a touch-based craft game, the controls are superb. Movement is simple and fluid, and the visual menu system allows you to quickly and easily deploy objects, craft new ones or just throw them away if they’re less than useful.
That’s complemented with a cartoon game style that gives it the impression of a 16 bit platform game, although there’s a lot more complexity on display here.
It’s also multiplayer-capable, and the code allows you to disable loot drops in multiplayer worlds, which is a nice touch to avoid deathtraps. It turns out that online folk you’ve never met before can often be jerks. Who knew?
The end result is that Junk Jack X can be quite charming — after a while.
Junk Jack X: On the minus side
As mentioned, I’d never played the original Junk Jack before leaping into Junk Jack X, and that meant that jumping into this game knowing nothing, I really did know absolutely nothing.
This is more of a problem than you might think, because Junk Jack doesn’t lead you by the hand all that much, and once night falls, as is traditional, you’re monster chowder if you don’t know what to do or how to do it.
I ended up looking up an online Wiki to get some survival tips, but I could quickly see players growing dissatisfied with that kind of solution if they didn’t have a Net connection to hand.
Junk Jack X is unusual for a mobile game in that you can’t really just jump in an out of it at will; it only really works if you put solid hours into it.
It’s also not the most stable code. Quite often I’ve found it won’t even open on a given iOS device, and the only solution if you want a game is to reboot the entire machine. That’s far from optimal.
Junk Jack X: Pricing
Junk Jack X costs $5.49 in the Australian iTunes store.
Junk Jack X: Fat Duck Verdict
Junk Jack X is solid fun, but it’s also a large timesink in a package that could do with being slightly more stable. Hopefully the crash bugs will be fixed quickly.
It’s not a game if you want lots of handholding on your crafting journey, but alongside titles such as Terraria, or for that matter Towncraft, it’s well worth the asking price.