It turns out they weren’t just hiding as hop rocks. Jetpacks — first teased way back in February before disappearing for a few months — have finally made their way into Fortnite: Battle Royale, letting any player that happens upon one of those things strap one on and go flying. They’re powerful and they’re risky, and you probably won’t be spending too much time with them unless you can score some late-game kills or get lucky in the early moments of a match. Regardless, they constitute an entirely new loot class called backpacks, so let’s take a look at how those work.
You collect a backpack like any other loot, either by grabbing it out of a treasure chest or picking it up off the floor. It takes up an inventory slot, but you can only carry one backpack at a time. It will also hide your back bling when equipped.
Once you’ve equipped the jetpack, it does what you might think it would: it fires you up into the air. You don’t need to have it selected in order to make it work–all you need to do is hit jump or aim while you’re in the air and you’ll get a quick upward lift. There’s a limited amount of boost represented by a green bar next to the item icon: if you run out, you drop like a rock, but you can recharge on the ground. Take heed: fall damage definitely still applies here, so have a landing plan in mind.
You can still fire while boosting, you just can’t aim. That’s probably why jetpacks are paired with shotguns for the upcoming “Close Encounters” limited time mode. They could also be useful with explosives, particularly the grenade launcher.
Like many of Fortnite’s more outlandish additions, this is likely to shoot to the highest level of play and stay there. Players like me might use jetpacks for basic navigation, but top streamers and other competitive players will no doubt figure out how to pull off all sorts of no-scope hunting rifle headshots mid-air and things like that, rocketing to impossible heights to snag a Victory Royale before running out a fuel in a last-ditch hail mary. That’s no problem for me, really: top-level players are already so much better than me that I don’t mind one more thing, and half the fun of Fortnite is watching it, anyway. We’ve got a competitive season coming up, after all.