Price: $2.99 (currently on sale at $1.99)
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4
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Game Controls Rating:
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6th Planet is a game that feels like a high production value has been attached to it. At its heart, it's a thrust based, Lunar Lander-esque space travelling game, but underneath that is an intriguing storyline and an impressively immersive soundtrack.
Getting the hang of the basics is easy. On either side of the screen is a thrust button. Touch that with your finger and you thrust in the relevant direction, touch them both at the same time and you go upwards solely. Your aim is to navigate each of the 50 levels carefully via the use of these buttons. It's not easy. There's a steady learning curve so you'll feel like you're getting there but when touching anything destroys your ship - from the ground to lava and asteroids - it can be precarious. Frequently taking your time is the key to success making 6th Planet both a tense yet bizarrely relaxing game to play. It's an odd combination that sounds impossible but it works. Often fewer taps of buttons is better than many as you get a medal according to how much fuel you use up. Fuel is depleted by excessive use of the thrusters so it's a careful process.
Much of the enjoyment comes from the comic book style story that's dished out in between levels. The pedigree here is pretty excellent with an Oscar nominated animation studio behind the writing and screen coloring done by Raymund Lee, famous for his work on the Wolverine series. It shows too. The story itself is about the need to reach the planet Saturn (the 6th planet) and how you, a monkey, must get there to save the human race. It's quite involving too.
Throw in some rather nice extra modes in the form of Master levels (you'll tear your hair out during some of these), Space Gate races and a Chill mode, and 6th Planet is an impressive package. My only real disappointment is the lack of achievements even though there is OpenFeint support for global leaderboards, but this is a minor quibble.
6th Planet is a great title to play if you're a fan of Lunar Landing style games. It offers a perfectly pitched difficulty curve and its developers haven't forgotten to consider presentational aspects, as demonstrated by the sterling comic book and soundtrack. You won't be sorry you picked this up.