Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sunshine [Morbidware] - $0.99

Gravity-centric platformers like Soosiz, Mr. Ninja, Magnetic Baby and They Need To Be Fed are generally few and far between, but when they do hit the AppStore, fans of the genre just eat em up, and beg for more. Well, last week, newcomers Morbidware added one more game to that very small list; Sunshine. An incredibly challenging, touch-to-jump mesh of Super Meat Boy and Mr. Ninja, providing an incredible challenge, and offering up quite a bit of replayability. 

Sunshine is a story of the Multiverse. With Photon’s shining all over the Multiverse, Black Holes have found a way to turn shining suns into nothingness, and are on a mission to drain all of the light out of the Multiverse. You’ll guide a little Photon around planets, asteroids and black holes, while you try and collect sunshine orbs, and make your way to each level’s exit, saving one system at a time. 
The game contains a Story Mode. No other gameplay modes are included, but fortunately, they aren’t really needed. With 3 Systems to travel through, and each system having 20 stages, with 12 different environments, loads of hazards, boss battles, and an insane amount of challenge, Sunshine will keep even the most hardcore gamers busy for quite some time. 

The controls are simple. Tap to jump. To jump higher, hold your finger down longer. To do a very short jump, tap the screen and let off as quickly as possible. Your little Photon moves on his own, rotating clockwise, orbiting each object. As you’ll quickly find out, black holes can be used and jumped on, but you better get off of them quick, as they shrink, and try to suck you into oblivion in a matter of seconds. Each object has it’s own gravity, and learning how to manipulate it definitely works to your advantage. 
As your jumping from object to object, there’s orbs which you’ll need to collect in order to open up each level’s exit (3 orbs open the exit). Once you do this, you can either stay in the level, and keep trying to collect the rest of the orbs, or you can exit the level, taking the loss to your score. Each stage also has 3 collectible stars you can try and snag. One for completing the level, another for collecting all of the orbs and the last one for completing the level under a certain amount of time. The time challenges are among the hardest I’ve ever seen in an iOS game, especially after you get through the introduction levels, and if you’re a sucker for 100% completing games, this is probably what will keep you coming back, as well as what will drive you insane. 

The graphics and animations for Sunshine are fantastic. I especially love the models used for the bosses, and the ‘cut-scene’ images. The animations are great, with a light ‘trail’ behind your Photon, smooth spinning of objects, great explosions, and more. The sounds and background music help to complete this atmosphere perfectly, with nice effects adding to the ‘oomph’ of the gameplay, it’s incredibly hard not to get sucked in. 

Another huge plus for the game is the level design. With moving objects, as well as the rotation of each world, asteroid, and black hole, the placement of hazards, and the mix of black holes and ‘safe’ zones for you to travel on, it’s clear that the game has gone through endless hours of work, thought, and beta testing to make sure that each level provides a fantastic challenge while not straying too far into the level of frustrating, and enhancing the gameplay immensely. Also keeping the game from getting too frustrating, if you die 10 times in a row, you’re given the option to use an extra heart, which adds one hit point to your Photon, and really helps out on those harder levels. 

Unfortunately, Sunshine does not run on 4th Generation Touch devices ATM, and is not Universal. The developers are, however, working on a fix, and have said that they’re kicking around some ideas for the iPad. Other than that, there’s not one bad thing I can say about Sunshine. It’s one of the best titles within the Gravity-Centric Platform genre, and with it’s hard-as-nails, Super Meat Boy level of difficulty, it provides a fantastic challenge for those willing to take it on. Though, the difficulty might be a deterrent for a lot of gamers, it’s great seeing games with this level of challenge hitting the AppStore more frequently these days. Being priced at $0.99, and including GameCenter leaderboards for each of the game’s Systems (worlds), there’s quite a bit of content to enjoy, and even more replay value if you’re determined to 100% complete the game, or go score-chasing on the boards. Morbidware has definitely, DEFINITELY made some hardcore iOS gamers happy with their first iOS title. I really hope we get to see more from them in the future. 


Holy cow I had no idea this game even existed! I cannot wait to pick this up and party tonight!

Thanks for the heads up in the form of this epic review!

WOOHOO!!! 4th gen iPod Touch device owners rejoice! The update has just gone live, and you can play the game without crashes! =oD

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