A fantastic new game hit the App Store today called Alone. The premise is simple: drag up and down on a the screen to pilot an escape pod through a deadly gauntlet of galactic debris. You get two levels of shields that can soak up a bit of punishment. Go for as long as possible in order to unlock higher difficulty levels. So what makes Alone so special?
The controls are razor-sharp. You drag behind the ship to push it up or down (the direction is inverted by default and feels great, but you can flip that in the options). The sensitivity for this is really high, so you're really just rolling your thumb on the screen rather than swiping. This is perfect for playing on small screens, but scales up to tablets just as well.
The music is absolutely phenomenal. One of five tracks is randomized when you start, and they're all great. Take a listen for yourself. It has this distinct sci-fi vibe to it, while maintaining all of the grittiness of an action movie car chase. The music plays right on through every time you crash, bridging what would otherwise by a lapse in rhythm.
Though the graphics are flat, there is a high amount detail throughout. Tiny thrusters will spit out the side of your vessel while you steer. Multiple background layers build a sense of shifting perspective. Your ship slowly rotates while rocketing forwards, revealing subtle signs of damage. Highly visible notifications paired with distinct audio cues give you a split second to react to incoming asteroids.
Alone is elegantly simple in its gameplay, and highly polished in terms of visuals and audio. Go get this game. It's $1.99 with no in-app purchases. I've been playing Alone for a little over a week prior to its public launch today, and it is one of the most refreshing mobile gaming experiences I've had all year.