Pixbit’s Junk Jack for iOS Takes Minecraft into 2D

Spawned by two Minecraft fans turned independent developers, Junk Jack has taken the App Store by storm in just a matter of days. Released on November 7, the game, developed by indie team Pixbits, has already climbed to No. 26 on the store’s best-selling paid games chart.

Making no bones about its inspiration, Junk Jack is a 2D pixel art reinterpretation of the mining “genre” made popular by Mojang’s hit indie title Minecraft. Like the game it’s paying homage to, Junk Jack is a largely free-ended sandbox experience designed to let players experiment with a variety of crafting options in order to survive and build in a persistent world.

The basic gameplay concept adheres tightly to Minecraft’s. Players start out in a fresh world that’s randomly generated, with only their hands as tools. As they dig, they collect rock, dirt, wood, and other resources that can be combined to craft new items using recipes. These combinations aren’t written down for the player, creating a need on their part to either be really good a remembering, or write them down on their own. Players are able to craft shovels, pick axes, and better tools to mine resources more efficiently. Nine types of material are available, along with 130 crafting items and 400 treasures to uncover. Three save slots allow players to maintain multiple worlds.

Since the game is based on a working day-and-light model, the game world becomes dark, necessitating the use of torches and unleashing a horde of monsters which players must defend themselves against. It’s possible to build shelter to hide in, or go on the offense, aggressively hunting the bad guys. Monsters disappear in daylight, allowing players more freedom to explore and build. Like Minecraft, the game encourages creativity through designing landscapes and even outlandish objects using the dirt, rock, and other world elements. In addition to weapons and tools, players can craft decorations to use in customizing their dwellings.

While Junk Jack doesn’t feature multiplayer gameplay, it does encourage players to take photos of their worlds to share with others through the iPhone and iPod touch’s built-in email, MMS, Twitter and other available social networking features. There is also a section on the game’s official forum dedicated to players sharing their creations. The title sells for $2.99 and does not feature in-app purchases.

Pixbits has announced on its blog that it intends to update Junk Jack in the coming months to feature a better tutorial for new players, as well as options for keeping track of crafting recipes. More ambitious plans call for the addition of quests, cooking, and farming.

You can follow Junk Jack’s progress using AppData, our tracking service for mobile games and developers.