Atomic Super Lander review
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Atomic Super Lander review

Our Review by Campbell Bird on September 19th, 2016
Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: OUT OF THIS WORLD
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This lunar-lander roguelike is a wonderful bundle of action, challenge, character, and explosions.

Developer: Crescent Moon Games

Price: $2.99
Version: 1.0.4
App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2

Graphics/Sound Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

Atomic Super Lander is a crazy game that is equal parts Armageddon: The Video Game, Toe Jam & Earl, and Lunar Lander. In other words, its an arcadey roguelike where you land on asteroids and blow them up before they reach Earth. It's pretty amazing.

Pilot to bombardier

In Atomic Super Lander, your mission is to pilot a lander onto an asteroid and plant one or multiple bombs on it so that it can be destroyed before hitting and destroying Earth. In the process of doing this, you'll need to contend with defense mechanisms like laser barriers and a host of alien creatures that may be inhabiting each space rock.

As you adventure around each individual asteroid, you'll likely discover items that can help you out, like oxygen bubbles, time-stopping power ups, and even plutonium, which you can use to unlock new things between rounds, like additional lives.

This is all controlled by a super simple virtual-button control scheme that works a lot better than expected. The buttons are nice and large, and the control scheme is simple enough that it never feels like you're fighting to do the things you want to do.

Space madness

Beyond the core concept of the game, Atomic Super Lander has a wonderful sense of style that makes playing it a constant delight. Everything from the short quips from the president regarding your progress to the ridiculous--and occasionally referential--arming passwords for your bombs elevate above the general glut of roguelikes that have swept through the App Store.

Although not exactly a "laugh out loud" funny game, Atomic Super Lander's cartoon aesthetic fits its ridiculous tone like a glove, which makes it completely charming.

Houston, we have a problem

Atomic Super Lander's main issue is one of pacing. Each time you start a new run in the game, the first few space rocks are super simple to complete. Once you successfully destroy five or so though, the difficulty spikes up dramatically, jamming asteroids with enemies and obstacles so thick it almost feels unfair. I know this is a roguelike, so the point is that it should get really hard, but the ramp up to crazy difficulty feels really uneven.

As a result, dying when the difficulty spikes is extra frustrating, since you know you'll have to slog through the super easy parts again just to get back up to the hard part of the game. It's not a deal-breaker, but this pacing is certainly not ideal.

The bottom line

If you're looking for a roguelike with a bunch of charm, Atomic Super Lander's got your back. It's not perfect, but its problems are easy to look past thanks to its charming execution on a fun concept.

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