App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
If I was involved in a space program that had a tendency to land spacecraft on precarious structures I'd have to rethink my career choice. I understand that space travel is a complicated thing and millions of problems can arise, but is it really that hard to get the ship onto the planet's surface the first time? Of course, if the fictitious rocket jockeys in Gravity Lander did get it right the first time then we wouldn't have a game here. Luckily they always manage to get themselves stuck on top of jumbled platforms, and it's up to us to get them down in one piece.
Gravity Lander is a physics puzzle game that leans toward simplicity. On any given level there are a number of various shapes, explosives and so on stacked together with a lone rocket on top. The idea is to get the rocket to land properly (i.e. right-side up) by carefully removing key blocks, tilting the device to shift things a bit and using one of three available boosts. Things go awry very easily, and I've no doubt that many a player will have to restart a level several times until they get it right, but a little trial-and-error (and perseverance) is all it takes to succeed.
With the simple, almost Erector Set-like visuals and subtle but pleasant soundtrack, it's easy to get lost in Gravity Lander. Finally completing a level usually results in the desire for "just one more," and even failure can be humorous thanks to the cute little semi-poetic messages that pop up (for example, "3 cosmonauts stopped sending signals"). With 52 levels on offer, it's a sure-fire way to burn through an afternoon.
The only real problem with Gravity Lander is that it's over far too quickly. 52 levels may sound like a lot, but when it only takes a few minutes to finish one (even a tough one) it won't take long before they're all over and done with. Ordinarily this kind of issue is counteracted somewhat with ratings or various other scores to earn that encourage replaying finished stages, but none of that is present here. It's either finish or don't.
Of course even with its brevity I'd still consider Gravity Lander a no-brainer. It's decent fun, vaguely hypnotic and can provide someone with a day or two worth of distraction for absolutely free. I can certainly think of worse ways to try to pass the time.