Last Horizon, which is out now for Mac, iOS (reviewed version), PC, and Android is a beautifully simple game: You leave your obliterated planet in a single rocket, heading out for a new home and gathering supplies along the way. It has two controls: turning and firing your thrusters. But it’s a lot more than that.
From that simple framework and its colorful, minimalist art style, a story emerges of hope, exploration, danger, fear, doubt, and, ultimately, triumph.
But it’s outer space, so you have to make sure that the thousands of things that will kill you don’t.
Last Horizon‘s iOS version launched today, and it’s one of those eerie, atmospheric titles that make the iPad Air 2 worth its weight as a gaming device. It has a few basic sound effects and some really calming, space-y music that enhance what you’re doing moment-to-moment.
Mostly, you’ll be flying around and landing on planets to restock your stores of fuel and oxygen, repair your ship, and rescue stranded people. Between planets, you need to avoid asteroids, meteor showers, black holes, and random-ass comets that will blast you out of the stars without even slowing down. It happened to me a lot, and now I hate comets a little.
Objects have mass and appropriate gravity, and if you’re feeling brave, you can save some fuel by slingshotting around planets. But I was never feeling that brave because I knew that some comet was just waiting for me to let my guard down.
Gravity also factors in when you go to land. You get points based on how soft a touchdown you can manage, which means that you have to get really good at balancing your thrusters against the pull from the planet. It’s also a good idea to try not to land on a mountain. It just doesn’t work.
If I have one small issue, it’s that the iPad version doesn’t offer a landscape mode. The screens in this review are from the Mac version for formatting purposes, but it looks identical on iOS; it’s just taller. The developer told me over e-mail that it’s portrait-only, “you know, to make you feel like you’re in space.” And I can appreciate that decision, but I think the music and space crap constantly trying to kill me would have gotten the whole “you’re in space” vibe across just fine. I just prefer the wider screen, myself.
Still, that’s no reason not to pick up Last Horizon, especially if you like gorgeous graphics and a lot of challenge.
Last Horizon is out now for Mac, iOS, PC, and Android. The Mac and PC versions cost $4.99, and the mobile versions are $2.99. The developer provided Cult of Mac a free download code for this review.