Free, Universal, 63mb download, no gamecenter.
Mkay, first new game of the week. Something about building solar systems and then flying around in them. Loading the game now...
Tap to create your solar system, already this has a peter molyneux feel to it for some reason heh. Ahh cool ok so my finger caused the big bang. Indeed. For a solar system creator we have the full schwing here. Add planets/asteroids, add orbits around the sun, customize every damn detail about your planets, change size's and locations of planets and orbits. Very nice visuals...
Facebook integrated but optional, can make an account with them instead if you like.
You are an explorer, a pioneer, the galaxy map is your access to solar systems and starting point for new journies. Ok so endless mode, travel as far as I can without running out of fuel, return data (probably my score) to earth for evaluation, avoid strong gravity fields as they slow down the mission timer. Hah, cool. Time has no meaning in black holes, steer clear, gotcha.
Ok so after learning how to make things in my solar system the game takes me to a galaxy view and I'm pretty sure I didn't go where the tutorial wanted me to heh. I went in to some other players solar system. Now this is interesting. When you enter a solar system you have goals. The goals are to reach various planets and achieve orbits for x amount of time while collecting these little blue orbs as research. Once you've hit all the goals in the system, you head for the exit wormhole. Control in this area isn't too bad once you get the hang of it. On the right side of the screen there is a big red and a big green circle. Just in the corner of these is the zoom out/in button for solar system wide viewing. When you enter the system you have a directional line and essentially do a slingshot (think angrybirds) trajectory in to the system. Once traveling you can use green/red circles to control your trajectory when in the gravitational pull of a planet, or you can tap / drag on the ship to fire your thrusters in the direction your finger goes. Hitting a planet causes you to reset at the start of the solar system. There dosen't seem to be a limit on how many times you can do this, I've blown up quite afew... The goal here is to accomplish everything and get out without running out of fuel. Once you've accomplished all your assigned goals you can head for the wormhole exit or you can hit afew other planets looking for research points. Other things of note on this screen are fuel levels, solar power charges, how long you've been from earth and what time it is on earth. You can go in to options and bail on this solar system heading back to galaxy view and you can upgrade your ship in various ways.
Upgrading your ship consists of useful improvements and cosmetic flair. On the useful side you can increase fuel capacity, increase solar energy, improve armor plating, engine can be upgraded for speed and maneuverability and navigation can be improved for better path prediction (i suspect this lengthen's the white line extending from your ship so you can better plan your orbits and whatnot). It looks like those research icons you collect are delivered in real time back to earth so you can upgrade your ship without returning home. Back at the ship customize screen you can view 'patches' you've earned. Pretty much achievements, wonder why these guys didn't bother with gamecenter? Anywho, you can also stylize the ship. This is simply a collection of visual patterns, tap on one and the color/tone of the ship changes. Dosen't look like you can change the ship physically though. Just did some ship upgrading after knocking out afew solar systems, the ship changes appearance as you upgrade it improvement wise.
All in all, its definitely a charming game so far, though for some reason there is no sound... and the game just crashed on me. I loaded the game back up and found myself in the tutorial again. Either the game dosent save between game plays (unlikely) or I screwed up the tutorial when skipping around and saves don't enable until the tutorial is finished. Annoying in either case. Hrm.
So, started fresh obviously and completed the tutorial. Learned all the ropes and so this time once finished I headed back to galaxy map and hit start journey. This... looks like it creates a quest for you. A random grouping of solar systems to visit and a black hole to dodge. Oh right, black holes. When you encounter one it is simply a mini game. Follow the green line, avoid any asteroids that get in the way by tapping left or right side of the screen to steer. Enjoy the view, black holes look cool!
Other observations. Apparently we gain experience, there is a experience bar and level indicator in the options screen. Just finished a Journey, was 4 player systems and a black hole. Gave me enough research points to get 3 upgrades away from being fully upgraded. Interesting... either there's a nother tier to this game beyond the point I'm at or this game is... short. Hrm.
Lets see what happens when I fully upgrade the ship, it almost looks like the level bar is progressing as I upgrade. Game crashed again, but I didn't have to start from scratch. And when I opened the game again, this time I'm level 3. Huh. I was level 1 just prior to the crash.
Other observations. I can tap on any person on the galaxy and visit their solar system, no need for a 5 part journey. Every planet has research points, not just the planets the journey tells you to visit. Also, after collecting the required research around a planet, another batch appears, stay in orbit and double your profit.
Fun little game, will be interesting to see if they update with more content and things to do in the future. Final note before I wrap this up, this game is a movie tie-in. Here's the trailer :