Kometen Review: Space Exploration Your Way

One of the greatest things that the app store offers is the freedom of choice. Not only for consumers but for developers as well. Kometen developed by Erik Svedang and Niklas Akerblad is the perfect example of a relaxing and intriguing experience in the guise of a game. Many people ask the question can a game be art? Those same people try to squeeze lots of games into that description but after Zen Bound, only Kometen has come even close to answering that question with a resounding yes.

The premise of the game is that you are a self named comet exploring your universe. There are 15 planets to discover each with a different name and theme. The process of exploration is wonderfully peaceful with rich colors and art and a wonderful soundtrack that will have you begging for more. The pleasure is in the exploration and that can be done at your own pace. Debris in the universe serves as your food so to speak and fuels your boost abilities. Traveling at the speed of light with a full belly has never been so much fun.

Likes:

Controls: The swipe controls couldn’t be more simple. Swipe to movet from planet to planet, long swipe to boost provided you have enough food in your system to allow this. As you rotate around planets you will automatically eat the debris and you will need to swipe at the right time to get in the direction you need to get to.

Exploration: In order to discover all the planets, simply tap one on the map and directional arrows will pop up directing you in that planet’s direction. Careful though as a straight line is not entirely possible with the realism of gravitational pull. Keep your eye on the arrows and you will soon make it to your next destination. It seems that each planet is better than the next and each have cute but quirky names with appropriate artwork decorating them.

Soundtrack: The music is a treat in and of itself. This is not one of those games that will have your fumbling for your iTunes list. Instead the music adds to the experience and you will find yourself humming it when not playing the game. It is catchy and peaceful all at the same time. It truly could sell as a single on its own merits.

The little things: I love when a game gets things right and then takes the time to go one step further. The menu is easy to navigate. The planetary map is perfect. Your progress from one planet to the next is clearly shown if you return to the map. The screen flips any direction you happen to be holding your iPod Touch or iPhone. From Landscape to Portrait to back again is easy as pie. But if you do want one orientation or the other a simple lock button is included in the options screen. Facial expressions of your comet range from serious to silly. Be sure to look for its tongue wagging. Items in the background range from the realistic spaceship to the humorous flower pot.

As you can see, there is so much more to this game than meets the eye. In fact surprises await those that finish the journey. Collect the password when you finish the game and visit here for a surprise.

Dislikes:

Lack of a travelogue: The absolute one thing I miss completely is a travel diary or passport or something of the like. A log of the planets that you have visited and a photo album with perhaps some fun “facts” of that planet would be great to have available. The planets are so wonderful that I find myself wanting to look at some of them again and it would be great just to flip through a book to see the planets I have unlocked without revisiting them. Also in revisiting them it appears that the name of the planet only appears the first time you reach it. So a log would remind you the uniquely creative names of the planets while admiring the art again. It is a shame that some of that humor and talent is short lived and forgotten when you reach the next imaginatively named planet.

For a change of pace and a great addition to your library Kometen by Erik Svedang and Niklas Akerblad is a perfect example of what the app store was meant to be – a game for everyone and everyone for a game. Those moments that can be filled with merely a little exploration and not too much effort for beautiful gains are uniquely satisfied with Kometen. This is a remarkable addition to the app store that will separate itself from the crowded offerings of the same old same old with its own style amd polish. Taking a seat next to Zen Bound, Kometen utilizes the unique aspects of the device perfectly and will be that app you want to share (show off perhaps?) with friends.

Kometen version 1.0 by Erik Svedang and Niklas Akerblad is currently available for $2.99. It was reviewed on a 2g iPod Touch running OS 3.x.


3 thoughts on “Kometen Review: Space Exploration Your Way

  1. That’s not even art! What a bamboozle. Only in the insular environment of the app store could such a product gain any recognition whatsoever. They have 1% the talent of 90% of fine artists.

  2. Hi ennui thanks for reading the review!

    As you know art is very subjective and therefore there will be many opinions on this. Thanks for the comment.

  3. There’s a difference between art you’d hang in a gallery and art in a game. In a game, we need to consider how the artwork plays into the overall experience and interactivity of the game, and in creating an immersive environment within the game. In these things, Kometen succeeds. I certainly wouldn’t want to hang screenshots of the game on my wall, but — within the context of the game — the game has fantastic art direction.

    I do wish there were more to the gameplay, though. Kometen seems more like a piece of interactive art than a complete game. And so the issue of whether or not the game stands well-enough as an art piece to justify the cost of admission is indeed subjective …

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