Congratulations, Mario and F-Zero had a baby.
We've seen numerous platform games on the App Store, but racing platformers? Not so much, which is but one reason why we fell in love with Starbounder, a surprise third-person iOS and Android title from Studio Radko that we hope receives the universal acclaim it so rightfully deserves.
As the story goes, you awake from a 5,312-year sleep to discover floating platforms in space that demand exploring. With this in mind, you select a spacecraft and bound through six regions and 60 challenging stages. The goal? Make it from point A to point B without plummeting into the bottomless black, because for some odd reason, there's no zero gravity to keep your vessel afloat. Not that you should care, since you have bigger things to worry about, like jumping from one platform to the next, or preventing the ship from smacking into a wall.
To that end, there are two buttons (brake and jump), while tilting your device steers your ship in the desired direction. That said, the controls are spot-on perfect. The gyroscope works extremely well, allowing you to make death-defying leaps with the utmost precision, jumping and even double jumping across rows of platforms snagging hard-to-reach orbs along the way.
Meanwhile, the developers did a phenomenal job on the levels, constructing a varied assortment of boards that bring something new to the experience, be it platforms of different heights or various obstructions that force you to make evasive maneuvers.
On top of that, the visuals look quite striking, not in the ship detail per se (though you have limited customization- think patterns and colors), but the starry backgrounds that transport you to the cosmos, complete with dance music. You know, to set the mood.
There's no leaderboard support or achievements to speak of, a real shame, considering the potential for speed runs. However, Starbounder is so much fun we doubt you'll care. Download this gem without hesitation, and prepare for a fast-paced arcade-style experience that'll push your platforming skills to the max. Excellent.
What's Hot: Outstanding tilt and touch controls, sheer platforming madness at three different speeds, 60 levels to master, universal iOS support.
What's Not: No achievements or leaderboards.