Lunar Module 3D in Review – Great way to remember Project Apollo’s 40th Anniversary!!

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It’s just such a coincidence that I received Lunar Module 3D during the week that Apollo XI landed on the Moon forty years ago. I have been reading, hearing and watching news and movie clips on this event for a number of weeks leading to the actual anniversary of the landing. What better way to celebrate than to digitally re-create what Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin did in this historic event.

Upon loading Lunar Module 3D, the player is presented with a number of missions to land the LEM. Obviously, with this historic date, of course I chose Apollo XI.

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Once Lunar loads, the game will present the user with a 3D view of the LEM, and various buttons to control the classic machine. Also, it shows various displays such as fuel, speed and altitude.

Once the situation is clear, and it is evident where to land, you tilt the iPhone/ iPod Touch to control the LEM. Typical input for any plane simulation games is the control scheme (i.e. tilt forward to rotate the LEM forward and vice versa, and left/ right to rotate the LEM left/ right). Pressing the “Thrust” button on the screen will initiate that single thruster on the landing stage of the LEM. However, be warned, because there is less gravity, and because there is no air for friction, braking the LEM will require reverse thrusting, rather than not thrusting like all plane simulators. Also, because the LEM is a unique vehicle in that it doesn’t land like a plane, controls can be hard to get used to at first.

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In order to properly land the LEM, the player must pay attention to all three readings on the meter because there is no way to “estimate” distances and speed, and also to make sure that proper reverse thrust is used because the LEM will move horizontal infinitely due to the nature of space. However, unlike space, the Moon has gravity, so the LEM will fall if not controlled properly. I admit I had a hard time playing the game the first few times.

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I did find this game fun, mainly because it offers quite a different experience from other apps. From what I know, this is one of the very few space related games, in contrast to the multitude of plane simulators on the iTunes Store. Lunar Module 3D seems accurate enough to me, since it’s a “game” and not a true “simulator”. Also, the way that it uses the accelerometer very effectively to control the LEM; it’s neither too sensitive nor too blunt. When all is said and done, and despite the fact that its gameplay does get somewhat repetitive after awhile, Lunar Module 3D manages to squeak into our Grab It rating with its intuitive controls and fun “moon landing” factor.

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App Summary
Title:Lunar Module 3D (v1.0)Developer:J-Squared Software
Price:$1.99App Size:0.4 MB
  • Many stages that correlate to the actual Apollo Program in the 1960s
  • Good calibration of accelerometer for controls
  • Feels “Pretty” accurate
  • The game is hard to learn at first
  • Graphics could be better, although still very acceptable
  • Gameplay could feel repetitive after many landings

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