The third Jetman/Jetpac game, Solar Jetman changes things by having a structured quest across designed levels, tacking down parts of a golden warpship.
You also won’t use the jetpack that much. Most of the time will be spent in little pod-like ships, and the controls are very physics-based. Instead of pointing in a direction and moving, you instead rotate your ship and use the thrusters to propel yourself, to stop you have to face the other way and use the thrusters to stop. It makes it feel like a successor to Lunar Lander than Jetpac.
If your ship is destroyed, you won’t be dead instantly, instead you’ll be in your spacesuit with your jetpack, flying around in a way more similar to the old Jetpac games. You can still shoot, but only horizontally, meaning some enemies you can’t hit at all, and you can’t pick up important objects. On top of this, you are very fragile, and one more hit will kill you. Once your ship is destroyed, you’ll want to rush back to the start of the level to grab a new one. This is a very nice mechanic to continue the game without losing a life.
As you explore levels you’ll find various objects: ship parts, upgrades, fuel and diamonds. You’ll need to pick these up in your pod and drag them back to your mothership at the start of the levels. Items are heavy, and your little pod will struggle to fly them around. Sometimes there are wormholes that you can use for a shortcut. This does unfortunately mean that some parts of the game are long slogs back to the start of the level, moving slowly.
How difficult things will move does depend on what planet you are on, as different ones have different gravity. Due to the really well made physics, you can feel the difference and can adjust your playstyle accordingly.
While there’s a lot to praise about Solar Jetman, it ultimately is a fairly slow and tedious game. The snapshots do create some nice bit-sized chunks for you.