It took former US Vice President Al Gore winning half of a Nobel Peace prize for global warming to gain footing in the public consciousness, but it shouldn't take something that grand to warm you up to Volcano Planet.
This green game plays like a spherical take on whack-a-mole souped up with slick 3D graphics and a couple of extra elements to keep it from being completely derivative.
Rampant carbon consumption and runaway global warming has resulted in a torrent of volcanic eruptions on the home planet of the Xediotz. Spewing toxic hydrogen sulfide and sulphur dioxide gases (mmm eggy), tapping the erupting volcanoes shut is the only way to give the self-destructive alien race time to mount an evacuation.
Flicking a finger across the screen rotates the Xediotz's planet, making it possible to access the volcanoes dotting the surface. A tap is all that's needed to halt an eruption. Points are awarded based on how quickly you quash an eruption, as well as for each Xediot that makes it off the planet alive.
The fumes that accumulate from the eruptions are tracked by two vertical gauges at the sides of the screen. At the end of each 30 second level, the gas levels are generously reduced. However, once both gauges fill the planet explodes and it's Game Over.
Working quickly to stop eruptions is key to keeping emissions down because it prevents toxins from filling the atmosphere, not to mention yielding helpful gas suppressant modules. Speedy taps grant modules that can be used to incrementally lower emission levels and keep you in the game longer.
Without this extra element, Volcano Planet would be nothing more than a mindless tap fest. Instead, you're motivated to work quickly to gain suppressant modules that enable you to extend your score. Racking up high scores locally is nice, though posting a competitive total online encourages fast tapping.
Even with these careful additions, Volcano Planet remains an extraordinarily simple game. It lacks long term value as a result of its derivative foundation, though the trade off comes in quick, polished gameplay.