Stop me if you’ve heard this story before. Whale Shark meets Dog. They fall in love. Dog gets kidnapped by evil people. Whale shark chases evil people into space to rescue beloved dog and has to dodge missiles being launched from aforementioned evil people. We all know that classic love story, right? Well Astro Shark from Unit9 does a great job explaining that story through a short video and then we’re off in space controlling the shark and blowing up rockets.
Once you’re out in space, controls become a fairly simple one touch system. The shark flies around space, and tapping an object will cause him to start circling it. Releasing your finger or the asteroid shattering after being held too long will send you off in whatever direction you’re facing.
But there’s more to the game than just free floating around the planets. The kidnappers now know you’re onto them, so they’ve wasted no expense sending out rockets after our love struck leviathan. They aren’t a big deal at first, pretty easy to outrun, and they’ll just be kind of there, but the later levels really do require the player to take full advantage of the game’s mechanics to outfox these things. Missiles can be destroyed by circling certain icy asteroids or through other methods of getting them to blow up. Quick thinking and quicker fingers will be necessary to get around in some of the later, more challenging levels.
The three star system in this game is actually really interesting in that it’s a series of challenges that just stems across the entire game rather than specific things you may need to do in one particular level (I discovered this when I apparently had earned stars in levels that I hadn’t even gained access to yet) and that works really well in this sort of game. There will always be a small heart target on the edge of the screen which helps guide players in the direction they need to go to reach their poochy paramour. Each level ends with a fun variety of other space animals unfortunately informing the shark that his dog is on another castl-er…planet.
Really, Astro Shark pulls off a lot of the beloved staples of an iOS game. You have an intriguing premise, an enjoyable main character, an interesting world explored through use of the touch screen mechanics, there are stars to unlock, a beautiful soundtrack (like really beautiful) and a steady difficulty curve. Right now the closest thing to a fault is that there are only eleven levels currently available, but given the intense experience and collecting all the stars, the content here is still well worth looking into.
+Wonderfully melodic soundtrack
+Simple mechanics that make for a challenging game
+One of my favorite premises in recent video games
+Enjoyable take on the three star system
-The ramp up in challenge can get quite overwhelming quite quickly
Astro Shark is certainly an engaging iOS title. Well recommended if you’re looking for something new.