When you think about it, space is a bloody scary place to be in. If you were in space, and something went drastically wrong, then there is a huge chance that you are absolutely boned. Even getting to an escape pod wouldn’t mean survival in a catastrophe, especially if you don’t have thrusters.
Such is your plight in Interplanetary Drift. It is the year 2129, and your craft encounters a wormhole in space. Your ship is subsequently destroyed and you are left to commander an escape pod that must rely on the gravitational pull of neighbouring planets and asteroids, in order to reach nearby wormholes and hopefully send you back home in time for a cuppa.
Gameplay is simple enough. You have no direct control over your tiny escape pod, but once you approach an object with an orbit, your craft will travel around in a circle until you release yourself from the gravitational pull by touching the pod. Later on, you’ll also be able to create these gravitational pulls using a “gravity well” generator that is found a little way into the game’s 100+ levels, split over three chapters. It’s not your ship that you need to worry about, as there are plenty of static and moving objects that will easily destroy your pod on contact, and you must also change the course of these hazards using the gravity well.
As an action puzzler, that’s as complicated as it gets. New hazards are slowly introduced, and some of the puzzles can get incredibly difficult. It’s safe to say that trial and error is the order of the day here, as you can expect to be replaying some levels about 20-30 times at least. Unfortunately, when you realise you’ve made a mistake and want to restart the level, having to go into the pause menu, press Restart and then press Begin Game every single time is an unnecessary number of steps just to retry a tricky level. As is customary for an iOS game, your performance on a level is ranked by three stars, although there is no indication that perfecting a level actually does anything.
The graphics and sound are as sparse as space itself. Visually, this game is as basic as it gets with static objects that aren’t animated in the slightest. As a result, everything looks incredibly uninspired and repetitive. More variation and more creativity would be welcome in such a simplistic game. Everything is backed by a decent enough soundtrack, and the occasional sound of objects hitting each other, or your ship entering each wormhole. This is certainly not a game that you’re going to remember.
VERDICT: Behind the shoddy visuals, there’s an interesting idea for a game, although it doesn’t feel like there’s enough to the mechanics and general gameplay to liven things up. To be honest, with the tons of games out there on iOS, Interplanetary Drift just isn’t compelling enough to worth spending the money.
AVERAGE. The epitome of a 50/50 game, this title will be unspectacular but inoffensive, charmless but amiable. We aren’t condemning a game by scoring it a 5, but we certainly aren’t championing it, either.
Review code provided by publisher.