Space Rider - Game by "Top Free Games - best Apps" by Top Free Games icon

Space Rider – Game by “Top Free Games – best Apps” ($0.99) by Top Free Games is a unique arcade game, reportedly created by an actual rocket scientist. You control a tiny spaceship that must collect at least one of the three stars on each map before flying into a black hole, negotiating any planets in the way.

Space Rider - Game by "Top Free Games - best Apps" by Top Free Games screenshot

To make the ship move, just hold a finger on any point of the screen and the ship will accelerate in that direction. There’s no need to swipe to make the ship move, but sliding your finger to a different point will make the ship follow your finger.

The first eight levels under Basic Missions are very easy to accomplish. Don’t be deterred by this though, the next batch of levels under Intermediate Missions are a lot more interesting. In this section, you have to deal with your ship being in orbit around a planet, usually along with some of the stars and a moon or two also being in orbit.

We are, of course, ignoring the fact that in reality stars have much stronger gravity over a much larger distance. In this game, they are just something to collect.

Space Rider - Game by "Top Free Games - best Apps" by Top Free Games screenshot

You have to fire your rockets in such a way as to distort the ship’s orbit so that it ultimately flies into at least one star without crashing into any planet. Personally, I get better results when performing short bursts on the rocket rather than long burns, as the extra acceleration makes the ship’s trajectory uncertain.

The playing field size has been limited by a large oval ring of asteroids which you get a clear view of when starting any level. If you fly into a planet, moon or asteroid your ship will explode.

Space Rider is a lot of fun and a well-balanced challenge (in later levels). The tiny ship and objects in a large area almost give the impression of something really flying through space, especially in the orbiting missions. It’s worth the investment, and there is a free version to try before you buy.