Unknown Orbit ($0.99) by Hyperfocal Design Pty Ltd is a game that comes from one of the developers of Zombie Outbreak Simulator, a game that we had quite a bit of fun with. Unknown Orbit is in a different vein entirely, but its meticulous design demonstrates that it is clearly the game of a seasoned iOS developer.
In Unknown Orbit, you will take on the role of a comet, floating and hurling yourself around a 3-D planetary system. This is a tilt motion game, so you will tilt your iPad or iPhone to steer, aiming downwards to head towards slopes.
You will need to tap on the screen to drop downwards, and then release in order to launch the comet skyward off of hillsides. These aren’t the easiest controls to grasp, so be prepared for a slight learning curve. It is a fast paced game with lots of twists and turns, which means you need to react quickly.
There are a few tilt motion iOS games that I have a hard time playing, and this happens to be one of them. It isn’t the difficulty, but the wild movement triggers my freakishly bad motion sickness. Just something to keep in mind if you’re adverse to games with a lot of motion. The game actually reminded me a lot of Tiny Wings, because you’re using the same drop and glide flying techniques.
As you play, the goal is to get the highest score possible, creating combos and scoring jumps and slides to rack up the points. To keep going, you will need to steer around grabbing up ice balls so your comet’s ice core doesn’t melt, which will end the game. There are two hot suns continually melting your ice, so snap up those snow balls as often as you can.
Because you’re rolling around at such a fast pace, it will take some practice to get good enough to get snow balls quickly. The controls work well, but snow balls can be hard to see, especially on the iPhone’s small screen. That’s one of the only complaints that I had – finding those balls was a challenge.
When you have less ice your comet weighs less and will go faster, while more ice means that your comet has more drag and a lower speed.
There are actually three different comets that you can play with: Shooting Star, Omen, and Erratus. Each one has unique properties. For example, Shooting Star is floaty and slow, while Erratus is unstable. Each comet is also harder than the last, so once you master Shooting Star and Omen, you can move on to the ultra tough Erratus.
In addition to trying to obtain a high score, you will also have a set of goals to meet. There are thirteen goals in total, and three at a time will be displayed on the screen. These goals will require you to reach a certain speed, get a specific score, or complete tasks like enter a stable orbit.
There are are no achievements in Unknown Orbit, which is disappointing, but there are Game Center leaderboards so you can keep track of your high scores.
All in all, if you enjoy motion based flying games, you won’t want to miss Unknown Orbit, which has a gorgeous space theme, an entrancing soundtrack, and challenging but rewarding gameplay.
Guess what? We have five promo codes for Unknown Orbit to give away to our lucky readers. To enter to win, just leave a comment on this post before Thursday, December 13 at 4 p.m. PST. Good luck!