Earth vs Moon in Review – Rockets at the Ready

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If you are a retro gamer (unlike me), you may have played something by the name of Missile Command. The old concept of shooting down incoming missiles as a defence genre has grown over the years from the Atari system to the Xbox. Now it’s come to the iPhone and iPod Touch (although not the first of this genre) as Earth vs Moon, by Low Five Games. And this game is actually more retro than meets the eye.

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So what did the world leaders decide to do when Earth was suddenly attacked by masses of oncoming rockets from the Moon? There were two options: A) Surrender or B) Die. The Earth chose C) Fight, and now you are the commander of the most advanced missile defence system in the planet’s orbit.

That’s right, you are given command of three stationary satellites in orbit and your job is to defend against the myriad of missiles coming straight towards Earth. And mind you, there’s enough of those to blot out the sun, (as the Persians said in the movie 300).

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Earth vs Moon features extremely simple gameplay. However, no matter how simple they make it, I just seem to fail at these kinds of games. But it’s fun nonetheless to see a plethora of rockets, UFOs, and other things fall towards the Earth as you attempt to shoot them down.
The game modes are: Story mode, Score attack, and Boss attack. The latter two have to be unlocked by playing Story mode.

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The basis is this: in each level you have three stationary satellites on the screen armed with a limited number missiles. Hostile rockets will begin to fly towards the Earth, and tapping or swiping on the screen in the desired target location above satellite level will launch missiles from the nearest satellite. Upon reaching the designated point, the missile will explode and cause surrounding rockets to blow up as well. Chain reactions can occur when plenty of rockets explode in the same vicinity.

Indeed, this is a simple concept, but it’s not so easy when it comes to having to aim your missiles properly. Additionally, each level progresses in difficulty and more challenges are set upon the player. At the end of a stage, you’re given a rank based on how many missiles you used and how well you managed to keep oncoming rockets at bay.

It’s absolutely crucial that you defend the Earth from being hit, otherwise each rocket impact will make it less habitable. Once all your land turns red from explosions, it’s game over. Similarly, your satellites can also be destroyed from rocket impacts, usually resulting in a game over. Because of this, Earth vs Moon takes some strategy and coordination rather than just mindless tapping.

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Now, what makes Earth vs Moon more unique than other missile defence games is that it’s not just simply defending against rockets each level. Low Five Games decided to take it “retro” and involve a few other past games. For example, one level is playing Pong against a massive mother-ship, as you shoot rockets to deflect the ball back towards the top. Another level takes the form of Space Invaders, with masses of side-scrolling UFOs flying towards the Earth.

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Earth vs Moon’s graphics can only be described as “awesome”. Sure, there might not be massive 3D models or the like, but the game is retro, and coupled with the smooth gameplay Low Five Games create a very nice experience. The explosions from missiles are vivid enough, but don’t distract you from gameplay. The sound effects are also a nice addition to the gameplay especially UFO sounds which complement the space theme well.

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Earth vs Moon is one of those games that creates a harmony between graphics and gameplay while adding a dash of humour on the side to make an overall enjoyable experience. With many aspects of retro-gaming remixed into the humourous storyline, I think I would speak for most retro gamers when I say that I’d “Kiss It”. Earth vs Moon is a must-get for those who love fast paced action combined with strategy.
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App Summary
Title:Earth vs Moon (v1.0)Developer:Low Five Games
Price:$1.99App Size:14.0 MB
  • Combines different retro games into one
  • Short, but challenging and fun gameplay
  • Great replay value
  • Needs online capability i.e., online high scores, peer to peer, etc.

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