Meteroids by Pixilabs icon

Meteroids (Free) by Pixilabs is a new kind of shooter where you must protect your planets from incoming asteroids. Nope, there’s no Doctor to save these planets — just you! Are you up to the task?

This game reminds me of other titles, such as Astronut and Paper Galaxy, simply because of the fact that it revolves around launching rockets out of a planet’s gravitational field. I’m rather enjoying the cartoony look that Meteroids offers, because the game looks lush and colorful. It’s also great for your Retina iDevice. The music is also not too bad, though it may get a bit tiresome after a good game session.

Meteroids by Pixilabs screenshot

So what do we have here? Planets are in trouble as incoming asteroids threaten to destroy them all. Fortunately all of these planets are equipped with regenerating rockets in their gravitational field. These rockets are the only hope between life and death for these planets, and it’s your job to use them wisely.

The game features three different universes, each with three different levels. While this may not seem like a lot, the game itself is quite challenging. The second and third universes will be locked, and you can either unlock them by collecting a certain amount of bronze medals or get them through in-app purchase.

The first world is open to you, though you will only start with the first level at first. To unlock the second and third stages of the first universe, you will need to get enough bronze medals. While the game is completely free, it involves a lot of grinding in order to get all of the medals you need to unlock each universe and stage. According to the game’s App Store description, the game will have over nine hours of play, but a lot of it seems to be grinding. This may or may not be your cup of tea.

Regardless, the gameplay is simple. Each planet will have rockets orbiting around it. Asteroids will be coming in from all edges of the screen. You must launch the rockets at the correct time (using the button in the bottom left) in order to get the correct trajectory to hit the asteroids and clear them out. There will also be UFOs that randomly appear, and if you can hit them, your rockets will get a unique ability, such as high-speed. Meteroids will start out with a single planet, but as you progress, you’ll get multiple planets on screen at once, moving planets, and more. Clearing out waves of asteroids will only bring in more the next round.

Since your supply of rockets will regenerate, you don’t need to worry about running out of ammo. If you get a successful hit, the rocket will immediately be replenished. However, if you miss, and the rocket gets lost in space, it will take a few more moments for it to be replenished. In the beginning, this may not seem like a big deal, but as there are more things on the screen, things become hectic, and every second counts, so aim carefully!

Before you start each game, you can choose up to five power-ups to equip out of the nine available, such as homing rockets, auto-shoot, and more. The more advanced power-ups will need to be unlocked with medals, but you get two free power-ups from the base pack.

Meteroids by Pixilabs screenshot

There is full Game Center integration for leaderboards for all stages. However, there are no achievements to obtain, which is a shame — I have a thing about hoarding achievement points on my account.

I find Meteroids to be quite a fun challenge, however, the game does get a bit repetitive as you play multiple games for medals, and it’s incredibly grindy. That is, unless you opt to unlock the entire game for $4.99. It seems you get a bronze medal after each game you play, but to unlock the second or third stage, you need 50 of them. That’s quite a bit, and I don’t think I will be playing enough of it to reach that, or the other universes and power-ups.

However, if you’re looking for a free game to kill some time with, then Meteroids is worth checking out. Unless you really like the game, then it may be worth the $4.99 to get everything unlocked, rather than playing the same level for hours.

You can get Meteroids for your iPhone and iPad in the App Store for free.