6th Planet, a cool new “Lander”-style game from Monkube, is available from the app store. Combining simple controls with a variety of game modes and an engaging comic-book style backstory presentation makes for a surprisingly compelling game.
6th Planet Pros:
- Beautiful visuals and stunning comic-book style presentation
- Interesting backstory
- Appealing ethereal soundtrack
- Easy-to-use control scheme
- Lots of levels and multiple game modes
- OpenFeint integration for global leaderboards
6th Planet Cons:
- No screen flip
- No level skip
- No achievements
With resources growing scarce and the possibility of Jupiter being capable of sustaining life, a monkey named Darius is sent into space on a recon mission to assess the consequences of colonization. This story is presented in a gorgeous comic-book style after every few completed missions, becoming fully fleshed out by the completion of the 50 main levels. The gameplay consists of piloting Darius’ lunar module through treacherous terrain, avoiding asteroids, falling rocks, lava, and other such dangers, to place his craft safely upon each landing pad. Some levels will have you directing Darius through a maze, passing between a series of gates en route to his goal. With the assistance of the low-gravity environment, you must use thrusters to push the craft left or right, as well as give it an upward boost to rise or slow his descent. You have limited fuel to reach your goal, so you must exercise frugal use of your resources as well as extreme patience in order to make it. Depending on the percentage of fuel you have left when you land, you’ll receive a bronze, silver, or gold star, the latter being required to unlock future levels. There is no level skip option, so you’re likely to get mired in a level or two requiring many retries until you can conserve enough fuel to move on.
Visually, 6th Planet has a lot going for it. The comic-book is crisp, colorful, and highly-detailed, looking great on the iPod’s small display. The action portion of the game also has a cool look, going for more of an understated feel with brightly-outlined shapes on a black background. The craft and some of the environmental objects has more detail, but the look boils down to a simple maze within a space setting. It become quite challenging as you progress, with increasingly more convoluted paths and environmental elements that fade in and out of view. The soundtrack features some great ethereal tracks and soothing music, which is available for purchase through the app itself. The controls consist of a left and right arrow that are pressed separately for each specific direction or held simultaneously to initiate the underside thrusters.
Replay value is quite high, as you can always challenge yourself to conserve even more fuel than before or go for the gold on levels that you only achieved silver or bronze. There are additional modes for Master Levels, Space Gate Races, and Chill Mode that are unlocked as you progress through the game. OpenFeint integration offers global leaderboards for each of the main Story Mode levels and Master Levels, tracking your scores and medals. There are no achievements to earn. Our only real complaint is the lack of screen flip, as the headphone cord jabs into our palm while we play. 6th Planet is currently on sale for the weekend for $0.99, down from its regular $2.99 price. 6th Planet is a visually enjoyable, highly-impressive 4.5-Dimple offering that should be picked up today.
6th Planet Review,