Astronaut Spacewalk, an interesting simulation title from Jorge Hernandez, is now available from the app store. While it performs admirably at replicating an intensely intricate task, the control scheme feels unnecessarily challenging to deal with, diminishing the enjoyment we expected to derive from this unique app.
Astronaut Spacewalk Pros:
- Beautiful visuals and serene space imagery, as well as realistic spacecraft
- Soundtrack is relaxing and NASA chatter adds realism
- Plenty of control points offer extremely precise moveability
- Unique simulation title
Astronaut Spacewalk Cons:
- Control layout is quite confusing and it impairs our view
- Steep difficulty curve
- No social gaming network integration
Astronaut Spacewalk puts you in control of an astronaut as he attempts to perform a series of jobs that are naturally complicated by the greatly-reduced gravitational pull found in space. Donning a Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU), he must move about by influencing his body position through minor bursts that propel him in all manner of direction. You control left, right, up, down, forward, and backward movements, as well as bidirectional pitch, roll, and yaw. Were we presented with a dual-stick-type of control scheme, we probably could have managed to move in anticipated directions without much thought or a lengthy tutorial-studying session. Unfortunately, Astronaut Spacewalk divides the screen into a grid of squares, each of which performs one of the aforementioned maneuvers. It creates a number of green lines that don’t necessarily obscure your viewpoint, but they do impair it to some degree and take away from the beautiful visuals. Remembering which squares do what is a bit of a nightmare from the get go, and it takes quite a while to get the hang of things. What started as a seemingly relaxed and compelling experience quickly devolved into frustration and annoyance.
Graphically, the space scenery is very nice, serving as a terrific backdrop. Camera movements are also handled with the grid of squares, allowing you to pivot your viewpoint around objects and gain the desired perspective to complete your task. Of course, since the game centers on your body positioning in three-dimensional space, the camera movements further confuse your senses and throw off your orientation. There are two small display screens at the screen top that each show your positioning relative to a different axis. Lining up the screen blips is the goal, but small misjudgements will quickly send you careening into space. The soundtrack is relaxing and atmospheric, setting the right tone for the game. NASA chatter also adds to the realism. The controls, however, take away from the great audio/visual experience. Replay value is mixed. If you were able to master the controls, you may enjoy trying to boost your level scores and attaining the three available stars. Otherwise, you’re likely to give up quickly and move on. There is no social gaming network integration, either. At a pricey $3.99 for a 20-level campaign, Astronaut Spacewalk is a 3-Dimple app reserved for the most gung-ho space junkies among us.
Astronaut Spacewalk Review,