Zip ($2.99) by Martin Gimpl is a physics-based space adventure that will keep you occupied and test your skills. In a way, it definitely reminds me a bit of Astronut, you know, with the whole launching from planet-to-planet thing.
I love games that feature a simple concept, but are definitely challenging and hard to master. This is one of those games, and I really like it so far. If you’re looking for a challenging adventure in the dark, cold depths of outer space, then this is your game.
First off, the game is powered by Unity, so the 3-D graphics are beautiful and crisp. It reminds me a bit of Wii games, since it’s not completely realistic looking, and has a cartoonish feel to them, but this is part of the charm. Our protagonist also reminds me a bit of LEGOs, which is pretty cute. The music and sound effects also add another fun layer to the game, which is already pretty deep.
So what do we have here in Zip? Zip is a space cadet, with his trusty spaceship, who just got hit by a stray asteroid (darn those things!) and now find themselves in a remote part of the galaxy. Zip needs fuel for his spaceship to return home, and this is where you come in. The main objective of the game is to navigate through the various levels and collect all of the crystals that can be found in the area to use as fuel and power up the ship to return home. Some crystals will have special requirements to fulfill before you can collect them, so pay attention.
The best thing about this game are the intuitive controls. Really, they’re quite simple. You move Zip left and right by tapping on the button for the direction you want to go, and then you use your jetpack and jump to other planets by tapping both sides of the screen at once. The game recommends using your thumbs, of course, but I wouldn’t even know what other fingers you would use to play iOS games like this. You can also tap and hold both sides of the screen in order to zoom out of the area and get an overall view of the level, which is great for seeing the obstacles that are in your way ahead of time. The fun is the 360 degrees of movement that you can do, since there are no real boundaries in space. It may make your head spin in the beginning, but trust me — you get used to it.
Once Zip uses his jetpack, he can only move in a straight line, so be careful and aim carefully. If he ends up floating around in space, you will be warped back to the last checkpoint you reached, which are the poles scattered on several planets. You can find out where the next checkpoint is by following the compass arrow that you’ll see above Zip’s head.
Asteroids are found floating around everywhere in this area, so you’ll have to be careful when flying. Slow moving asteroids near the surface of planets can be pushed away if you walk slowly towards them, so take advantage of that. If you end up hitting some floating asteroids, you’ll live, but you’ll take some damage to your suit, which is indicated in the bottom left corner. Collecting metal shards will allow you to repair your suit when necessary, and they are scattered throughout the level. You earn a star if you manage to find and collect all of the metal pieces.
As you progress through the levels, you will encounter more obstacles that make your journey home more difficult, such as angry alien life forms, exploding planets, robots, and more. There are even boss encounters that you will have to face.
There’s Game Center integration for leaderboards (metal collected) and achievements (20 total), so there’s plenty of incentive to keep playing.
I’m really enjoying Zip so far. I have not gotten too far in the game yet (there are a total of 32 levels), but I love the visuals, music, and sound effects. It’s definitely a challenging game as well, so it will take time to get through everything. I also love the fact that there are absolutely no in-app purchases, so this is just a pure game you’re getting. You’re also supporting an indie developer, which I’m always happy to do, especially if the game (or app) is great, which this is.
The only thing that seems to be missing is iCloud game saves (it does not appear in my iCloud storage management list). If this is added in the future, then it would be perfect.
Still, I highly recommend checking out Zip and discovering the fun for yourself. It’s available in the App Store as a universal download for $2.99.