Sometimes the best iPhone games are good in short spurts. Sure, you can play a console game for a few hours straight, but if you're on the train heading to work, it's always a good thing when you can get a quick burst of fun before getting off. That's what I like about A Moon for the Sky, a vertical racing game by Bulkypix. Despite its shortcomings and presentation errors, the game is a fun pick-up-and-go title that can actually get addicting.
For some reason, the moon has fallen and it's your job to make sure it returns to the sky. You play the game's adventure mode by drawing horizontal lines on the screen that are used like trampolines to propel your moon higher into the sky until you reach that level's finish line. Longer lines give you more space, but shorter lines give your moon more of a boost. The adventure mode levels are timed, and you can pick up clocks along the way to give you more time to reach the finish line. Once you reach the goal, you'll get coins and a medal based on your final time. Each level doesn't last very long, and with only 18 levels in total, the game's adventure mode is rather short.
As you progress through each level, you'll be introduced to different objects and obstacles that will either help or derail your moon's journey. The game has nice physics and your moon will react easily to air currents and blocks that will push it away. You'll also encounter UFOs that will "abduct" your moon and drop it from a random corner of your screen. Destructible debris will also block your path so you'll be playing Brick sometimes trying to destroy them.
Aside from the timed adventure levels, the game offers a really fun limitless mode that lets you play the game until you die. This mode offers the same obstacles as adventure mode, but it also gives you power-ups that boost your speed and power-downs that make your moon heavy to control. This mode is great for casual players, since the game introduces more obstacles and a higher difficulty the longer you stay alive. Your high scores get saved and appear on the game's online leader boards too. You can also restart the game from where you died only if you have continues which you can buy in the game's shop mode.
Each level you play on both modes has many stars for you to collect. These stars give you currency known in the game as Bulky Coins which can be used to customize your moon and also to purchase more continues and even adventure mode levels. Only one adventure mode map is available from the beginning, so you'll have to replay the levels often in order to collect enough coins to unlock the other ones. Sure, you can also use real money to purchase in-game coins, but why bother? If you enjoy the game enough, you'll be playing it for a long time and by that time you will have collected enough coins anyway. Simple customizations let you change the look of your moon and also the little icon that hangs from it.
I was really impressed with the game's presentation which blends soothing music with nicely detailed environments. Each world your moon travels through is essentially a constellation that has a distinct theme such as an underwater sky or a snowy nebula. The colors are fun and vibrant and the music will relax you. My only and biggest complaint about the game is that it suffers from major spelling and grammatical mistakes. I feel like the localization team went on vacation when reviewing this game since a lot of the text reads like something out of a poorly written engrish blog. This not only ruined part of the ambiance of the game, but it makes me feel that the game's development was poorly supervised.
Aside from the typos, A Moon for the Sky is a fun game that you can play anywhere and anytime. The game has plenty of room for improvement and it could use more levels, but the challenge of getting better medals, better times, and unlocking more customizations will bring you back for more. If you like simple racing games, give A Moon for the Sky a shot. I's about the price of a cup of coffee, but it'll last much longer and it will mellow you out instead of giving you a buzz.