Darius is not very happy, and who is to blame him. A lonely monkey in space set out on a mission no man dared to perform. Now Darius is lost in his space craft, and somehow he has entered a new formed world. A world not easily navigated with only two trusters, and the brain of a chimp. Survival is still deeply rooted in his genetic foundation, and survive he must and will.
6th Planet is a direct ascendant to Lunar Lander, but updated with fresh graphics, sounds and story. The aim of the levels is to guide the spacecraft to the landing pad avoiding rocks, meteors and running out of fuel. To steer you have a right, and a left engine. Simply touch the corresponding side to move left or right. To propel the craft upwards you have to use both thrusters at once by touching both sides of the screen simultaneously. The controls work fairly well, but the craft is by no means a quick mover. To successfully navigate the more intricate levels you need a bit of trial, and error to properly avoid debris and learn how fast you can descend. Often the game is all about making sure not to crash by momentum alone. A lot of planning is needed, and if you make a mistake there is little room to fix it. Most of the time a mistake spells death to the poor Darius.
The difficulty of the levels ramp up quite quickly, and soon every little obstacle takes planning and timing to get past. This is not an arcade game where you can blast past simpler sessions with speed, but rather all areas take time to negotiate. Patience is a key word, and that is just to survive. If you want to attain gold rating by having more than half the fuel left it will take time, sweat and a lot of dead chimps. With 50 levels the game has quite a lot of game life. Given the slow pace of levels, and the need to replay a lot you can get at least four hours out of the game. That is if you have the kind of patience the game demands. Super hard Master levels are unlocked after completing the story mode, as is a laid back chillout mode.
The presentation doesn’t initially strike me as being that polished or taxing on the device. After a couple of levels that impression changed as obstacles started moving with really nice effects such as the meteor tails. Further into the game levels start to fade in and out in truly mesmerizing fashion. Completing a number of levels unlock a couple of pages from a comic book depicting the adventures of Darius. These comics are well drawn, and manages to motivate me to push on even after retrying a level 20 times already.
The music needs to be mentioned separately because it is breathtaking. An ambient soundtrack that suits the game perfectly, and ties it together with a Space Odyssey 2001 vibe. The sound effects are ok, but limited to the odd sound of thrusters, and thump of death as you crash into something. You can play your own music, and keep the sound effects.
The slow pace of the game limits the appeal of an otherwise well presented game. It is still a great addition to iOS gaming giving a classic a modern makeover, and adding an interesting storyline. If you want an alternative to the quick twitch action games usually populating the blogs and reviews definitely consider picking up 6th Planet.
6th Planet $0.99
Seller: Monkey Business Industries