One of the worst things one can say about a job poorly done is some variant of, "it's not like this is rocket science."

On some level the phrase makes sense: we point to a demonstrably difficult discipline in an attempt to draw attention to the relative ease of the (botched) task at hand.

Yet, with this common phrase, we're also implicitly accepting mistakes in the field of rocket science. As such, we're priming ourselves to expect the occasional missteps - like Relativity Wars - to pop up in the field from time to time.

Einstein hoist

In Relativity Wars, you'll help guide your race of Toodians as they take their first, tentative steps into the stars.

This exploration begins simply enough, as the universe around your Toodian homeworld is full of habitable planets waiting to be colonised. But soon you're challenged for your right to plant your flags across the galaxy by the nefarious race of pink Squishians.

The navigation and UI in Relativity Wars are quite simple – you tap on a planet to bring up a menu, and when you launch a spaceship you tap where you’d like it to go.

But what makes Relativity Wars stand out from the legions of other space sims on the App Store is its incorporation of complex physics taken from Einstein's theory of relativity.

While this sounds impressive, it unfortunately translates to some halfway intriguing gravity effects around planets and generally soft controls for your spaceships.

Genius not required

After finding your feet with the tutorial, you'll run into one of two alternating problems with Relativity Wars: the missions are either far too easy or too difficult to complete without IAPs.

If you want to build spaceships or research tech innovations like lasers and terraforming, you'll need to wait on a build queue. Most builds will take anywhere from 30 seconds to a couple of minutes to complete, but you can access them instantly by spending some Einsteinium.

This expenditure becomes a necessity on some missions, when unrelenting waves of Squishians assail your colonised planets and you find yourself scrambling to repel their invasions.

On the other hand, some missions are so devoid of challenges that they can be easily completed by investing in a few tech innovations, setting your iOS device down, and walking away from it for a few minutes

Ultimately, Relativity Wars is a smashing concept for a physics-driven space colonisation sim that does its best to dress up merely adequate gameplay in the intellectual finery of science.