148Apps Network Post
Developer: Astronot
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2, iPod touch 4

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Like Metroid games? Specifcially, the original Metroid? Then check out Astronot. This platformer kicks it real old school, and that may turn people off, or be extremely satisfying.

Astronot is an open-world platformer where players control a space garbage man, who gets knocked on to a strange planet after a spaceship explosion. The game drops players in the middle of a situation, and it basically is up to them to figure out what’s going on from there. Good luck, because Astronot ain’t sharing any hints! Players can jump and shoot, and can kill bosses to find powerups to help access other parts of the game. Stay away from the glowing lava, because it is deadly.

Astronot is old-school hard, and it is engrossing because it is this expansive world (the game will take a while to beat, let’s just say that), and it challenges the player to figure out what’s happening, and to survive. It is extremely difficult, and it revels in its difficulty.

So here’s the thing: there’s no map in this game. It is extremely easy to get lost here. There is a lot of idle wandering to be done before upgrades and anything to help progress through the game is really found. The game doesn’t say much about what’s going on either. It’s all about player discovery, and it is not meant to be fair, especially as there are spots where the player could jump blindly into lav, and save points are not commonplace. An update for Astronot has been submitted immediately after launch that clears up a couple of bugs, and in later updates a full-screen option and iCade controls will be supported.

I simultaneously find myself wishing that Astronot held my hand a bit more, that the bosses didn’t seem so impossible right at the beginning, and that there were a few more save points, but I can also appreciate what is going on here. This game could have been released in the 1980s and no one would have thought it was made in 2012. There’s a Lite version, and it’s worth checking out just to get a feel for what the game is. I’m simultaneously engrossed yet exceedingly frustrated.

In short, it means that Astronot nails the retro experience like no other game on the App Store ever has. That’s not always in the player’s best interest, but for those willing to deal with the challenge, it is rewarding.

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