Jupiter Lander
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| Jupiter Lander

It appears the ever-burgeoning retro revival has landed in our pockets in good style, as one of the first games ever released for the classic Commodore 64 home computer has got a modern mobile make-over.

The one defining objective of this sub-genre is the inertia-based mechanics of safely and accurately manoeuvring some kind of landing space vessel. In this latest re-imagining of Jupiter Lander, the retro model has been given a fresh lick of digital paint and a load of new levels to bring it up to modern standards in terrific style.

Two thrusters control the horizontal trajectory of your landing craft, while a third works as a decelerator. Gravity is a harsh mistress on Jupiter, and placing your spaceship carefully on a landing pad is the simple yet surprisingly intricate task that awaits you. No real back story or alternate purpose is required: the instructions pretty much amount to 'Just try not to crash'. Which is easier said than done, of course.

Each level begins as the Lander enters the atmosphere and immediately begins to drop toward the ground. The inertia and momentum physics are what really makes this game stand out, and they've been beautifully captured here. The directional buttons fire the corresponding thrusters – which can be a little confusing, as burning the right engine (by pressing 'right') actually pushes the capsule to the left, so pay attention – and a small gauge denotes velocity.

Carefully slowing the decent of the Lander so a white bar stays within the small gauge as it touches down is the key to a safe touchdown. Getting over-zealous with the thrust pedal burns the limited fuel, of course, so minimal adjustments are always preferred.

There's no limit to the number of times you can crash your vessel, as the game hinges on this limited amount of rocket propellant. Once you're out of fuel, the game is over, and at times keeping the tank sufficiently stocked can be frustratingly difficult.

Nevertheless, the brilliantly simple gameplay and controls make it the ideal choice for five minutes of casual escapism, so minor niggles like this aren't going to ruin anyone's day. It's not a deep or enthralling experience, but for raw arcade thrills there are few titles that fit the micro screen and keypad better than Jupiter Lander.

Jupiter Lander

A shifting challenge level from the outset to keep players interested in the superbly simple gameplay. Fans and newcomers will all find a lot to enjoy
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