Aug 31, 2010

Sinister Planet

Sinister Planet is an arcade shooter with a Market description that lumps it in with "Defender, Sinistar, Galaga, Asteroids, and R-Type". More accurately I'd say it's like Bosconian. It is a 2D top down shooter that places you in a sand box with the mission of collecting gems while surviving. I say "sand box" because, while the play area is bigger than my screen, it does have boundaries that I can bump into. Gems are found in asteroids and as asteroids are blown apart you'll be breaking them into smaller and smaller pieces, a la Asteroids (the arcade game) until eventually a gem is revealed. Unlike Asteroids, colliding with an asteroid doesn't cause your ship to blow, but instead you bound off of it. The game features several enemy types and one type actively seeks out capture of these gems before you can get them in order to mutant into a more ferocious opponent.

The game's graphics are good and feature opponents that look like they came right out of Galaxian. Who knows... maybe they did? The audio is adequate with basic firing sounds and such. The controls are purely touch screen based which is a bummer for those of us with keyboards. I guess I need to get used to more and more games ignoring my keyboard given how few Android phones include them. For me, it's a gaming necessity. On the screen you get the usual virtual DPad and fire button. You can fly your ship in any direction and the physics of slowing down and turning seem to be reasonably well emulated. You do have a choice of having the fire button in the upper right or lower right, but that's just cosmetic... tapping anywhere on the right side of the screen fires regardless of the position in which the button is displayed.

Your goal is primarily to collect gems and a gem counter is included in the upper left of the screen along with a power meter (shields) and radar. One you (or the enemy) gets all of the gems you move on to the next wave and have the opportunity to buy power ups such as a better laser cannon, better engines, ...etc with the money collected from gems as well as gold.

Issues? One issue I did have with the game is twice it ceased to load for me. It would get stuck on the startup screen. Granted I didn't wait half an hour, but I did try and wait it out. My ultimate solution was to go into Settings... Manage Apps... Apps and clear the game's data. That brought it back although the well done tutorial also game with that.

Sinister Planet isn't anything new. It's a good, old 2D arcade shoot 'em up just as advertised. And it does its job well. It would be nice to have better control than a touch screen can offer... perhaps accelerometer based control? The game also feels a bit too quiet when I play it. Other than that it's done very well and I do have to tip my hat to it as one of the better arcade shooters on the Android platform that I've enjoyed. 4/5 stars.


  1. Thanks for a great review Alster, as the developer of Sinister Planet it is very encouraging to get good reviews. I am improving Sinister Planet constantly and as a result of the comments I receive the game has changed beyond recognition from the original concept. I have many emails from people suggesting improvements, many of which have found their way into the game. You could say it is a collaboration of many ideas, almost a community effort! I have one big update left to do, which will involve your ship hovering over the planet surface in a bid to destroy power stations, which will result in the destruction of the planet (before you move onto the next planet hehe) I need to get my "planet exploding" animation perfected though!

  2. Yes, I've noticed many updates since downloading it. Might I suggest adding support to move it to the SD card given the game's size? Good luck on your continued work with the game! - Alan

  3. I thought I added SD support last week! I only have a Desire stuck on 2.1 (grr T-Mobile) so it's hard to check. I added the code and tested on a friends 2.2 device and it was working. I'll have to look into it, hopefully my update will be coming soon.