Did you know the moon landing was a hoax?

Neil Armstrong and his fellow actors would have been dead before they got to that big ball of celestial cheese after passing through the high-radiation Van Allen belt that encompasses the Earth.

But what does this bit of fascinating and conspiratorial trivia have to do with the slapstick iPhone game Space Monkey, you scream into outer space?

Well, it just seems as logical to believe humans would release a monkey into the cold cosmos to clean up an orbiting landfill as actually send men to jump around on the moon in unpressurised linen costumes.

So already Space Monkey is off to a surreal good start, as it lampoons the danger of space travel in a most entertaining way.

It's also very likely that, once we do start spending more time in space, it'll quickly fill up with debris, junk, pop cans and crisp packets, so we're going to need some form of intergalactic bin men to pick up after us. And that's precisely what you'll be practicing in Space Monkey – outer space refuse administration.

Floating through the cold black, our heroic little astro-monkey sits in the centre of the iPhone's gorgeous screen, only able to rotate in either direction.

By sliding your finger around him, Space Monkey turns in 45-degree increments with his arms and legs spread-eagled. Various forms of rubbish float past, and by aligning his hands and feet with the junk, you can grab it and add it to each level's quota.

Mixed in an amongst the harmless litter are batteries that lend you a nasty shock if grabbed, so you must also be careful to spot them coming and make sure Space Monkey's hands and feet allow them to float by untouched.

A remarkably simple premise that initially feels far too limited to harbour much entertainment, but as the subtleties of play come into focus it really grabs your enthusiasm bone and tickles it into submission.

For instance, there are some items that can only be grabbed with the hands (bowling pins), and other that only your feet can snatch (such as old socks). Ice cream and doughnuts coast past to replenish your energy if you can get Monkey's gob around them, while at other times too many batteries to dexterously avoid will hurtle towards you.

When this happens, flicking the screen sets Space Monkey off spinning, and any objects shooting toward him will be deflected. Leave him spinning for too long, however, and he voms up banana chunks into his helmet.

As you improve your refuse administration duties, you can start to show off and earn a few extra points. Grab hold of a passing yo-yo and Space Monkey will play with it while spinning through space, and extra points are awarded for keeping it going as long as possible. And, if a few juggling balls happen to glide past his feet, you can snatch them up and start foot-juggling – again, earning points as long as you can keep them going.

It's quite a wonderful spectacle seeing a cartoon monkey spinning through orbit in a children's spacesuit, juggling five balls with his feet while playing with a yo-yo and grabbing litter with his free hand.

It's moments like those that keep you playing, and any frustration felt at the slightly unresponsive controls is quickly forgiven when the chimp gracelessly grandstands at the end of a successful level.

And it's games like this that remind us why we love the pocket platforms. What initially seems to be limited and overly simplistic unfolds to demonstrate subtle depths of intricate gameplay. Out of this world.