Top 11 of '11 (iOS). Number 11 - Space Junk.

by PaulEMoz in , , ,

OK, I'll be honest... this one only sneaked in because I used the year as an excuse to make a bigger list. What can I say? It was really hard, cutting out over a dozen good candidates!

Space Junk only came to my attention fairly recently, but in that short time I've been quite hooked on it. And that's strange, because Space Junk is pretty much an Asteroids clone, and I don't like Asteroids...

Look! Space shuttles! Really!

My problem with Asteroids, I think, stems from the way all the controls are accessed via buttons. So rotating the ship is done with your left hand and everything else (firing, thrusting, hyperspace) with your right. For me, that was a bit like trying to pat my head whilst rubbing my belly. I was rubbish at it.

Space Junk is similar, but instead of a ship you control a jetpack-clad spaceman. I don't know why that feels better to me, but it does. Perhaps the control scheme, which features the tried, tested but not always working on-screen disc for movement, plus buttons, helps. It's very easy to spin your spaceman around quickly to deal with any dangerous space debris. Better than using left and right buttons, that's for sure.

I'm not surprised the ice caps are melting. That sun's blinding!

I always found Asteroids' rotation too slow. This method, for me, makes the game a lot more playable for instant arcade fun. When you die in Space Junk, it's much more likely that it was your own stupid fault, and not the limitations of the game or interface. That's important.

Another plus point is that you can choose the orientation of the screen. For me, it works better in landscape mode, but it feels a bit more Asteroids-like in portrait mode. A lot of games force you to play in one orientation... I appreciate having the choice.

For some reason, I feel a little taller...

Space Junk looks very nice too, like it could be a genuine vector graphics arcade machine. It's more colourful than the majority of those old vector machines, and I presume it's a simulation of vectors, but it's pin-sharp and a real retro treat for the eyes, although you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise from these pictures!

I've been very impressed with Space Junk... it scratches my arcade shoot 'em up itch quite nicely. There's a choice of game modes... eventually... you have to unlock the others, which is plenty of incentive to play the game even more. I'd certainly recommend this to anyone that frequented an arcade in the late seventies/early eighties. It's currently £1.49 from the App Store on the iPhone and iPod Touch and on the iPad, which is fifteen tens in arcade money. You should easily get your money's worth out of that.