Astra: no one can hear you refuel in space
Astra is an endless runner in space that uses just two buttons. The art style is reminiscent of Galaga and similar retro arcade games. Your mission is to fly the Astra spaceship as far as you can into deep space while picking up fuel points and avoiding fuel voids. An interesting mechanic in Astra is that the more you move your ship left and right, the faster you deplete your fuel. When you have no more fuel left, the game is over. Astra is compatible with iOS devices running iOS 7.1 or later and costs US$0.99.
Controlling your spaceship is very easy and feels appropriately responsive. Players tap the right side of the screen to use the ship's right jets and propel themselves to the left. Likewise, they tap the left side of the screen to activate the left jets and push the ship to the right. You have a limited fuel supply and you are tasked with trying to get as far as you can before running out. It is also possible to run out of fuel on one side's jets before the other, which will send your ship hurtling in one direction. This also makes it harder for you to get the fuel points that help you continue on your journey.
When out of control, it is easier to for you to run into fuel voids that drain your fuel. This increases the difficulty of Astra in an interesting way. Still, you can regain full control of your ship if you manage to hit enough fuel points, though this can be difficult to pull off. Astra also increases in speed as you venture further into space. This made it more challenging and felt like the player was naturally progressing in the game.
Astra does not feature any music of its own in the game nor any sound effects. This means that you can play your own music, which accents the gameplay and the arcade look. The lack of sound also meant that when played without adding your own music, controlling the ship feels more relaxing. It was really nice to see two different ways of playing the same game just by turning on and off your own sound.
The neon light color pallet is exciting and looks really great against the dark space background. The colors pop out and it adds a touch of fun to the simple mechanics. Astra is also integrated with Game Center, which is a great feature for friendly competitions for the highest score.
With a really nice art style and an intriguing use of no sound, Astra is a beautiful game that offers players a way to relax while retaining some excitement. Astra is available on the App Store for US$0.99 and definitely worth trying out.
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