Truth be told, my favorite style of game in the handheld genre is puzzle. At any given time I have at least five puzzle games loaded onto my iPhone.
Astro Sphere is a challenging puzzle style game that’s available for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The game takes place in space and the goal is to guide your “ship” through a series of levels. To advance to the next level you must teleport your ship through a portal. You do this by bouncing the spherical ship of certain obstacles, each of which has a different effect, all the while trying to collect bonuses and more lives in the process. The game features 50 levels and makes good use of the iPhone’s multitouch feature.
Upon clicking the game’s icon you’re presented with a splash scree while the game loads. As iPhone games go, this one loads rather quickly. In a short time you get to the game’s main menu.
The choices are fairly basic. You can start a new game, resume a game in progress, view your high scores, read the credits or get help.
The help screen details what each of the different obstacles are that you’ll face while navigating your ship through space. Some items have certain effects on your ship, like causing it to move it a different direction while others grant you more lives or boost your score.
When you start the game you’re given 20 lives. Fly off the screen and you loose one. The levels start off easy and get progressively hard as you move up. In the screen capture below your ship is the greenish sphere and the X marks the portal you are tasked with reaching. To move the ship you simply tap on the iPhone’s screen in any of four locations (top, bottom, right or left) and your ship slides as far as it can to that direction until it either hits an obstacle, reaches the portal or disappears into the vast emptiness that is space. If it’s the later you loose a life and the level restarts.
As you move up more items make the game more challenging. The gray squares block the ship from running off the end of the screen. You use them to move the ship around space without disappearing.
The early levels are easy enough but as you move up the difficulty increases. If you fail to make the warp you end off drifting off into space the level restarts. However, it’s not always exactly the same each time. When you’re replaying the level you’ll notice that the obstacles have moved from their previous position. The game features techno like music that plays in the background and also futuristic warp sound effects during game play.
The higher the level the more obstacles you face and the more rewards, in the way of extra lives and bonus points, you’ll see.
Overall Astro Sphere is a fun game. If you’re familiar with Sokoban style games this game will seem familiar. The game moves quickly and does a nice job at making you think. It’s a fast paced puzzle game that is both challenging and addicting.
This game requires software version 2.1 or later.
Astro Sphere is available from the App. Store.
What I Like: Quick game play, challenging but not impossible,
What Needs Improvement: Ability to play with no sound, more levels.