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Max Astro: Stranded Beyond the Stars Review

By , on July 2, 2012

Max Astro: Stranded Beyond the Stars
Download on the AppStore
3 out of 5


  • Certainly a unique spin on block matching and high score gameplay.


  • Far too slow paced.


An interesting idea plagued by game speed that's far too slow, making the whole ordeal rather boring.

  • Full Review
  • App Store Info

Max Astro: Stranded Beyond the Stars tells you everything you need to know about the game's story right in its title. Your name is Max Astro, pudgy space adventurer, and you have been stranded beyond the stars. To get back home you must traverse alien landscapes while odd block critters fall from above. These critters are the key to not only creating stepping stones to overcome large block towers, but they can destroy large towers blocking your path.

Each screen of a level is its own self contained puzzle for both gaining three stars and gaining a high score. Max makes his way from left to right. He can use his jet pack to jump up and down to up to two blocks height, tapping the screen will fire his gun in that direction, while tapping Max will make him change direction. Monsters descend from the top of the screen, suspended on balloons. Shooting the balloons will drop them onto the ground. Some creatures will turn into clumps of dirt, creating towers, and other creatures will eat any block below them as the plummet to the earth below. Creating and destroying these towers, especially with blocks of the same type will be what sends your score upwards, and working out how to maximize this score gain is the trick behind not only earning three stars, but it's the deeper game sitting beneath just getting Max from left to right.

The thing is that Max moves very slow. Extremely, excruciatingly slow. This is a plus if you're going for the high score and keep moving back and forth, but when it comes to simple progression, it makes the game feel quite boring as you wait for Max to waddle along to screen's end. It also becomes a concern when your oxygen levels keep depleting. In most screens, there are power-ups like oxygen boosts that help you along, and of course making the screen flat will help (as jumping will deplete your oxygen supply), but it's an aspect of the game that's hard to overlook.

It's a shame because the alien landscapes are beautiful and evocative and it's such a neat spin on the block puzzle genre that it's worth a look. Perhaps others won't find Max's speed a problem, and to those who can, you'll certainly find a unique enough experience underneath.


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