Jones On Fire
[Editor's note: The developer has added a note to the App Store listing since launch, announcing plans to remove in-app purchases in a future patch. This review is provided for the game in its current state, and as it is being invested in by players. While the removal of IAPs would be a welcome addition to the game, we're satisfied that this would not impact on our score or general conclusions.]
If the internet has taught us anything it's that there's an insatiable appetite for all things kitten-related, so we're surprised it's taken someone this long to fashion a game around saving these furry friends from a fate worse than death - in this particular example, burning to death.
Jones On Fire stars a heroic firefighter racing through a forest auto-runner style, except in this case he's gathering as many kittens as he can from the smoldering forest, rather than hoovering up coins left right and center. His monetary reward for doing so is instead tallied up when he returns to the firehouse, kittens in tow.
The controls are pretty simple in the game, and amount to sliding under or jumping over burning obstacles. Make a poorly timed tumble and the roaring flame wall that chases from the rear will catch up with you, and you'll have to execute a flawless bit of running to put distance between it and you again. Stumble again while the fire's nearby, and you'll lose a life - lose all three and you'll have to spend some of the kitten-saving money you've earned on continuing the run, or just exiting the game.
Alternatively you can purchase upgrades that allow Jones to blend the two different maneuvers, something that becomes essential in later hazard levels, and it can be frustrating to be out of cash when these moments occur. Pickups that allow you to automatically gather nearby cats, or simply become invincible for a short period of time are also available.
It's pretty standard genre stuff for a game that costs $1.99, and one that will also ask for more money if you run out of game cash and want to continue a run after all three lives are gone. As an entry in the very crowded running genre, then, Jones on Fire struggles to justify its comparatively high pricing. Given the competition, we felt as though we'd exhausted the genuine charms the game has rather quickly. Where the game does justify some plaudits though is in its visual styling, which is pleasantly pixellated, although prone to a little blurring on older iOS hardware.
If you really have an inexhaustible appetite for both kittens and auto-runners, you'll get a lot more out of the game than most, although we still feel that the pricing is too step given the gameplay on offer, as well as the additional currency in-app purchase store. It's a blast for a time, just don't expect it to set your world on fire.
What's Hot:An original visual take on the running genre, with all of the upgrades and side-missions you'd expect.
What's Not:The price, combined with the currency store and the rather primitive gameplay, makes this tough to recommend for genre fans.