6th Planet ($2.99) by Monkube is a 2D science fiction flyer that in some ways is as much an original comic book series as a game. You are a monkey sent to Saturn (yes, it’s the 6th planet) to explore and learn if it will be habitable for humans in the near future. The game includes 50 levels across seven worlds, and the story is told using 188 comic strip cutscenes.
If you have ever played the board game Othello, you may have heard the adage “a minute to learn, a lifetime to master.” Such is the case with playing 6th Planet. To fly your spacecraft, you only have two buttons at your disposal. Individually and collectively these comprise a grand total of three controls: left, right and up. The overall feel is very much like the ever-popular Osmos, with jet bursts thrusting a heavy mass somewhat clumsily around the screen. The goal of each level is to land your vessel safely upon a landing pad.
The controls and gameplay are atypical and pleasantly challenging, but some may find them frustrating at times, and quick to lose their appeal.
That being said, this is almost the only downside of this masterfully crafted package called 6th Planet. If apps are meals (work with me here), then this game is an elegant Thanksgiving dinner with every side dish, dressing and dessert. Not only is it beautifully presented, but it's exquisite in taste as well. Sure, the turkey is a little bland, but that is almost overlooked when surrounded by all of the fantastic trimmings.
The level of artwork, music, story and level of challenge found here are usually only found in pricier, higher profile titles. The cutscenes alone will have the comic lover bounding around like a monkey on Saturn. The sound has been well mastered and is really great with headphones. The number of levels will keep you entertained for hours.
The controls and gameplay of 6th planet may not have you on the edge of your seat, but everything else about this beautifully developed application is fantastic. There is something for everyone and rare will be the gamer that won’t enjoy this near-complete package.