6th Planet iPhone Review

6th Planet is sort of like Atari's Lunar Lander for a new generation. The basic premise of safely landing a spacecraft remains the same, but the developers at Monkube spruced things up with killer artwork and 50 challenging levels designed to test your skills and patience. Ah yes, and you land the ship around Saturn instead of the Moon, not that location matters when there's a comet up your butt.

The first thing that jumps out is the comic book presentation, and for good reason. The company hired the same writers behind Oscar nominated films The Triplets of Belleville and The Secret of Kells to pen the story/draw the panels, then brought in Raymund Lee (of Marvel's Wolverine fame) for coloring. The talent didn't go to waste, as the game has both a gripping narrative and wonderfully illustrated drawings that serve as a sweet reward for completing levels.

As for the game, well, it's Lunar Lander, but for a touch screen device. You guide the ship (with a chimpanzee named Darius inside) to a landing pad by pressing the left and right side of the screen to activate the thrusters and control momentum. At the same time, you'll need to keep an eye on the fuel gauge, because when that reads empty, the ship falls to the ground below. Now imagine doing this with comets traveling across the screen. Succeed, and you'll earn medals that eventually unlock additional stages. Fail, and Darius has eaten his last banana.

For the most part, we love everything about this game. Not only is it fun, but the cool story and comic book panels impressed us even more.

On the downside, we can't restart levels on the fly, which is something we've grown accustomed to in games like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope. There comes a point, especially during the race levels, where it's obvious that we've screwed up, but instead of hitting restart, we need to watch the spaceship slowly plummet to its doom.

In addition, we wish the developers let us play levels out of sequence. To hardcore gamers, this won't be a huge deal, since they enjoy spending upwards of an hour (or more) trying to beat one stage, but us casual folks don't like running into walls. It would've been more ideal to give players a chance to step away from one level and try another.

Aside from that, 6th Planet is a great example of what creative folks can do with iOS. We look forward to Monkube's next project.

Download 6th Planet

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1.2 or later.

What's Hot: Interesting story, slick comic book presentation, Lunar Lander inspired gameplay, just $0.99.

What's Not: No restart button, you cannot skip levels.