For just $2.99 on the iTunes store, players who are looking for a tedious, yet addicting game can seek refuge in an interstellar landscape where planets are combusting, colliding and bursting into being simultaneously.
There’s not much of a narrative. Solve fast-paced puzzles and juggle imagining the entire scope of the level while paying special attention to the minute interactions between planets. Be sure to keep away from wandering danger zones! Stage difficulty increases as players progress through each new “sector”.
In settings you can choose to make planets appear as 3D cylindrical objects, or you can let the game run in default and imagine the circles as spheres. In 8-bit, there’s not a lot you can do graphics-wise, but Steph’s use of a pastel color scheme and pin-point accurate pixelated shadows trick the eye into seeing a vivid difference. I’d say the physics seem to be inspire by Valve’s Portal 2, but on a smaller scale.
“Multitouch feature allows players pull planets apart via forced binary fission of the thumbs.”
The soundtrack is nothing noteworthy. Eliss Infinity allows players to direct their own mini-midi orchestra with increasing speed as planets divide and collide, all to the tune of Pong-like pitter-patter. As the moving tri-color entities lull you into a zombie-like state, you stare at the screen of your mobile device with intensity, blocking out anything worth mentioning in real life.
Personally, I played some Pelican in the background (specifically, Last Day of Winter), so I’d suggest any post-metal or semi-transient classical music could easily take place of the game’s soundtrack. That is if you prefer a more fast-paced musical drive to keep your caffeinated ass tied to the beating pulse of the game.
I was pausing frequently out of intermittent frustration at my total lack of being able to beat certain levels on the first play through. I turned to playing with the app’s mechanics.
The menu’s a little hard to comprehend, but if you click around enough, you can get back to your paused game. (A word of note, a total of 584 players are on the leaderboards right now, out of the total 4,461 players who’ve downloaded the app–all of this within three days of the game’s release).
Scores are based on players’ ability to quickly push said terrestrial orbs into black holes. This depends on how similar the size of the planet is to the size of the black hole you want to sink it in.
What’s unique about this game is, the multi-touch feature allows players pull planets apart via forced binary fission of the thumbs.
[Spoilers!] By sector two you really need to look at the location of the orbiting arrows revolving around a central point where new planetary forms are blooming into being. Without thinking, players calculate the ratio of a planet’s mass, taking into account its gravitational pull as apparent when the magnetic field of the black hole draws close-knit into a collision course, lowering total health as a result. Combine planets to create a huge one, giving space for new birth of wormholes or drag planets across the screen to yield their trajectory into dark holes. The octagonal fence which indicates the size your ideal planet should be will shake, changing from a neutral black to an unnerving red. Ultimately combusting, the player takes a hit on health points and renders health regeneration futile thereafter. That is, until a successful combination of planet size to black hole is achieved.
In another level (sector five), the black hole feature allows players to pull a planet into the center where it will wobble back and forth in slow motion, while you focus on other surrounding planets currently bursting into being.
“It’s not as difficult as it sounds, to play Ellis. You just have to remember that you’re quick draw opposable thumbs have more uses than opening the Peanut Butter jar”.
It can’t be too hard for the generation that’s been gaming since before they hit puberty. Just grab a diet coke, and focus on this addicting little number if you have some time to kill and don’t mind indulging in this form of mind-numbing meditation.
Though frustrating at times, Ellis is addicting at best. It’s something you pick up when your boss is out at lunch and you’re stuck in the cubicle leaving voice mails on machines of people who aren’t likely to buy that set of never-dull knives you’re currently trying earn a commission off of.
Buy this innovative stress reliever of a game on iTunes for $2.99.
By the way, Steph has the sickest online portfolio I’ve ever seen. Click on the link if you’d like to take a peek at his other games.(Published on Headbang ‘n’ Buttonmash.com)