Space. A limitless expanse that is filled with things that we imagine — aliens, galaxies, planets, and black holes. A place that all of us want to explore and know more about. A place that is a perfect canvas for a intergalactic iPad game.
Well, one small step from the iPhone makes a giant leap for the iPad, as IconFactory has recently released the iPad application of their flagship iPhone app, Astronut. Sure, we know that the theme of this game is space, but is this application truly out of this world? Find out after the break.
The idea behind Astronut is in its name — you are an astronaut who is making a trip through the many realms of outer space. Throughout your journey, you will discover the different aliens, planets, and beings that the universe holds beneath the glass of your iPad.
Luckily for us, the controls are not rocket science. You tap on the “jump” button to jump, and click on the “boost” button to send yourself flying through space. Of course, the boost only lasts for a certain amount of time, and takes a few seconds to refuel after every use. All you really have to do is time out your jumps, as the planets you land on are constantly spinning.
The trip itself is a pretty neat one as well. Astronut offers a six
world galaxy campaign; and each galaxy has four levels. While this may not seem like much, the campaign itself is very long. Levels can take upwards of a minute or two to complete, which is definitely something admirable about this game.
Obviously, as you progress through the game, it will get harder. Just getting used to the controls is tough, as it is quite hard to time out your jumps just right. You will also encounter several different space aliens, black holes, and planets that burn or launch you away. These things add a little extra challenge to the game and make the game compelling.
To balance these obstacles, the developers added extra lives, guardian shields, and “Star Shards” as bonuses.
While the extra lives and guardian shields are pretty self-explanatory, the Star Shards are a thing of their own. Once you collect four Star Shards, you will be awarded with a bonus level which will add to your score.
Still, I found that the more I played the game, the less captivating it became. The lack of interesting twists in the game made gameplay quite trite after a few replays. Hopefully in a future update the developers will add some new features that add twists to the game.
You can’t go into space without bringing some “souvenirs”, right? Astronut has a few really awesome extra features. First, your dreams of becoming a space commander have finally become true. By installing the Astronut for iPhone app, which is available for free from the App Store, you are able to use your iPhone as a controller. That’s right – your iPhone has become the control center for your voyage in space.
Also, there are tons of achievements that you can win as you play the game. These can be awarded by doing practical things like completing a world or doing something a certain amount of times, or silly things like tapping on every app teaser on the about screen. Either way, you are awarded with a shiny, awesome looking badge so it is worth the trouble at the end.
Perhaps the biggest thing that sets Astronut apart from all the rest of the games in the App Store is the stellar graphical styling. The design team that worked on this app was insanely talented and consisted of some of my favorite graphic designers. So yes, this app’s graphics will blow you out of the
The art itself is very rich and detailed. Textures are very rich and look how they are supposed to — the moon looks like the crater-y surface it is known for, metals look shiny, and the planets made of molten lava look as if they are going to burn you. Together, it gives you the ultimate space exploration experience right at the tip of your fingers.
The glowing modern user interface makes it feel as if you are controlling a space station itself, which is a really awesome feeling. Plus, the subtle animations throughout the UI give it some life—again, something I appreciated.
All in all, Astronut is a solid game. You can tell that this app was not put together overnight. The graphics are truly stellar—by far the most detailed and rich I have seen in any iOS application. Astronut also features some elements that are usually only seen in much more expensive iOS games — such as the iPhone control system. Better yet, these features are free when the competition’s counterparts cost money.
Sadly, the one area that Astronut does not shine happens to be the most important: gameplay itself. Though it does start off pretty fun, gameplay grows very stale rather quickly. Still, for fans of the iPhone app and for people that appreciate amazing design, Astronut is undoubtedly worth the $1.99.