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Developer: Pangea Software
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Asteroids was a classic back in the day and understandably so. Its addictive reliance upon fast reactions and furious action grabbed many a player in the 1970s and 1980s, refusing to let go. It was a more intense experience than Space Invaders, simply because there was more flexibility in exploration. It meant that every second counted. Impressively, it’s a format that’s stood the test of time. Years later and games that owe much to this format are still succeeding to entertain us.

One such game is Nucleus, coming from the consistently entertaining home of developers Pangea. Nucleus looks like a mixture between Asteroids and Geometry Wars. It’s easy to get to grips with but takes quite a bit of practice to truly master. One finger controls movement while the other controls firing weaponry. Movement is quite floaty, imitating thrust based propulsion, so it does take a short while to master.

Moving quickly and responsively is key as throughout the world of Nucleus is plenty of space debris that must be avoided or destroyed. Fortunately, a selection of different weapon powerups can be acquired which help matters. Throwing in some science to the equation: the purpose behind Nucleus is to build atoms by collecting electrons and taking them to the nucleus but much of the fun just stems from gaining better high scores than the last time.

On my iPhone, I suffered no slowdown, even when the action turned increasingly frantic. I did at times struggle to see everything clearly though, with the screen turning rather dark at inopportune moments. The action doesn’t appear to change much either when it would have been interesting to see the addition of new goals and targets in later stages. It would have added a neat element to this re-envisioning of a classic formula.

These minor blips aside and Nucleus is excellent fun. It’s a challenging title, much like Geometry Wars, but a fun one nonetheless.


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