Developer: GlassTower Games
Price: FREE
Version: 1.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

The original Lunar Lander was a little bit before my time, but that doesn’t matter since now I can load up GlassTower Games’ Deep Flare: Lander whenever I’d like. The simplicity and convenience is certainly nice, but sometimes old school revivals can feel a little too old school. Or in this case they can be a little too faithful to the original while bringing in the wrong kinds of contemporary features.

There’s a moon and a Lunar Lander. Players have to connect the two but it’s not quite that simple. Controlling the descent involves tapping the left or right sides of the screen to turn the Lander and tapping or holding the bottom middle portion for thrust. The Lander has a set amount of fuel and will crash if it runs out. The moon’s surface is uneven and craggy. And coming in too fast will result in the Lander getting smashed to pieces. Actually, doing just about anything imperfectly will result in the Lander getting smashed to pieces.

Fans of the 1970s classic will no doubt enjoy the authentic feel of Deep Flare: Lander. It’s got the wireframe vector graphics, the low-tech sounds, and the high finesse requirements. It’s also incredibly fast and easy to start a new game upon catastrophic failure; just tap the screen to give it another shot.

Unfortunately Deep Flare: Lander can also be shockingly unforgiving. If the Lander isn’t positioned just so, over terrain that has to be of a certain evenness, and coming in at a slow enough speed: BOOM. That’s par for the course, though. What really bugs me is the placement of the in-game ads. They sit right below the area of the screen used to control the Lander’s thrust and are far too easy to tap accidentally.

Deep Flare: Lander is every bit as simple and oddly fun as its inspiration from the 70s, but it’s also every bit as “classic.” There’s absolutely nothing new here, aside from some rather bothersome ads. Nostalgic Lander pilots will most likely enjoy it despite the occasional thumb slip but I’m not entirely sure younger, more contemporary-minded App Store shoppers will find it all that special.


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