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Astro Shark HD Review

By , on March 12, 2013


Astro Shark HD
Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5

PROS

  • Use of planet orbit to pick up speed is a great mechanic.
  • Each level brings something new, and this is reflected in the star challenges.

CONS

  • The game can be quite unforgiving.

VERDICT

A charming little shark orbit arcade experience that is a little more devious than it first appears.


  • Full Review
  • App Store Info
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Astro Shark is the unlikely love story between a shark that looks like a killer whale, and a dog. Hold on, it doesn't stop being weird there. So one day the dog is kidnapped and then the kidnappers escape with it in a rocket. Not one to let this slide, the shark engages its hydro thrusters and rockets off into the cosmos after it. Apparently whale sharks can breathe in space. So on the surface this game seems like another orbital flinger where you use the momentum of traveling around planetoids to traverse the universe, but as a positive surprise, Astro Shark is a game that expects mastery of its mechanics as each level throws progressively harder challenges at you. This was not expected from this style of game.

Each level you need to follow the cries of Laika only to find out from another space animal that she's in another galaxy. Tapping and holding the screen on an asteroid will cause you to circle around it until it crumbles (as not all are stable) or till you release your finger and fly off in an arced direction. As you fly around, the kidnappers shoot missiles at you. You either need to gain momentum by weaving through asteroids to escape them, or trigger a mine (or an ice planet) to disable them. This weaving and gaining speed by tapping asteroids for a second on your way through while adjusting your direction is one of the more fun aspects of the game, and you will need to master this and other little uses of the game's physics engine to make it to the end of each stage.

It really is a pleasant surprise to expect a light arcade game with some physics mechanics and find a deeper experience that requires a certain level of learned expertise from its player. Now it's still not an exceptionally deep experience so it's not going to pull in that subset of the gaming population, but it is more difficult than probably most physics based arcade gamers on the iOS are used to. This might be a detriment, but flying through space is a lot of fun, and especially in the later stages, you feel a sense of accomplishment when you reach the end. I'd say give this one a play and see if it interests you.

Screenshots

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