Overall Score 74%
A spatial anomaly passes through the solar system and four planets are sucked into another dimension. First Jupiter, then Mars and Mercury, and finally Earth. Scientists named this anomaly a Rotational Dimension, or RotaDim for short. Your task is to bring these planets home.
This is a classic example of why games like Pacman and Space Invaders didn't bother with plots. For the life of me I can't figure out why this game requires a plot about planets and dimensions, especially with some of the more bizarre aspects such as why a rotational dimension has walls, how the planets are now all the same size and quite how the people of Earth have the ability to move planets and yet didn't think to move them out of the way of the spatial anomaly in the first place. And personally, I'd be most concerned with rescuing Earth. We could live without Mercury, couldn't we?
So, let's forget about the plot and move onto to the game itself. It's a puzzle game, where your task is to get each planet lined up with its wormhole and sent back to its proper position in the solar system. You can only move one planet at a time and when a planet starts moving it won't stop until it hits a wall or another planet. You therefore have to think ahead and use the other planets to get the position right.
Controls are very straightforward. You select the level you wish to play; there are fifty in all and they get tougher as you go up. You are then brought to the puzzle screen, where a walled in area and between one and four planets occupy the majority of the display. Around the outside of this puzzle are five control panels, one for each planet and one to restart or exit the level. There is also a move counter in one corner or other, which ticks down to zero as you move your planets about. Simply click on an arrow on a planet's control box and you'll send it floating away in that direction.
The challenge of each puzzle is not just to free all the planets but to do so in the allowed number of moves. Early puzzles give you some leeway for error, but later ones are very strict. Herein lies one complaint - it is all too easy to click on the wrong planet button, or the wrong direction, and try to move in an impossible direction. The planet won't move, but you'll have used one move up none the less.
Graphically the game rates somewhere above average. On the one hand it has some beautifully designed planets (taken from actual pictures?) and the transition effects are well done. It seems rather obviously made up of squares but, considering the nature of the puzzles, this is understandable. On the other hand, each planet 'rotates' rather jerkily and they move rather slowly. Movement is generally smooth but planets seem to merely start and stop - I feel some acceleration effects might look more realistic.
Game sound effects are minimal, which is not really all that surprising for a game of this depth, but the music is well thought out and adds to the atmosphere. There is more than one in-game tune which helps avoid monotony, and all game music is largely background - it would disrupt your thinking otherwise. Very well done.
Overall this is an excellent effort from a relatively new programming team and, while the game concept itself is fairly simplistic, the effort they have put into making it look and feel good really shows. The main weaknesses of the game stem from its design, such as accidentally using up moves by trying to move a planet into a wall. The puzzles themselves progress from very easy to frustratingly difficult in a fair difficulty curve and should hold the player's interest for some time. This is a game which, with a few tweaks, could go quite far.
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