Sunburn (iOS) Review
Hey everyone, Robert Smith (Coil_Whine) here with another cBlog for everyone! Sorry I always post these in the early morning hours, I was busy actually gaming, gawking at the huge Blizzard outside, and just recently was backing up all my cBlogs to my Dropbox (an odd collection of bits and bobs such as Minecraft maps, my Tomodachi Life pictures, my walking simulator I made in Unity a few years back, etc.) to be archived for later use. As an aside, I’m possibly starting a Tumblr with actual blogs and NOT memes, which my old inactive Tumblr was full of. I write better late at night.
1:25 PM, January 12. I was slacking off in my last block of school when I got this weird headline in my lockscreen notifications. It was a game offer from IGN, which piqued my interests because I wanted games to play on my shiny 2-month-old iPhone 6S. Interested (that’s one hell of a sales pitch) by the superb pixel art, sharp humor and low, low price of free that this game seemed to offer from the IGN Appstore Newsletter description, I clicked the download link. Shortly thereafter, the app was installed to my phone. My adventure began.
In a introductory cutscene that strangely reminded me of my beloved indie darlin’ VVVVVV, the captain’s ship (pictured) crashed after hitting a giant space rock or something of that caliber. The captain and several of his/her colleagues (including Porkbun, the cutest pixel-art space dog ever) got scattered out into deep space, destined to die in the harsh environment. They start to realize that although they’re going to die out in space, they’re not going to die alone.
And our game begins! The controls are very simple yet nuanced, but fit touchscreens perfectly.
All you have to do is pinch the screen on both sides to build up momentum to jump off the spherical planets. You can tilt your Captain to collect your colleagues, who helplessly float around in space waiting to be tethered to you like Sandra Bullock in Gravity. After you finish picking up all your colleagues from space, you have to lead yourself (and everyone else) directly into the sun. Yep, the giant firey pink sun.
The whole game has a sweet dark humor theme to it which is pretty hilarious at times. Your colleagues say really ridiculous stuff especially after they rise up as ghosts (before you move on to the next level). Well, the levels are called sectors, to suit the dark sci-fi theme.
Graphically everything looks clear because of the iPhone’s built in Retina display (though I’m sure it looks just as stunning on Android) and sharp excellently-done Pixel Art. The game is also complemented by a soothing chiptune soundtrack that is particularly chilling and fitting of the retro sci-fi moniker. There aren’t any In-app purchases or ads of any kind, which is why getting it for Free was practically a steal.
Normally it costs a low price of $3 on Google Play and the App Store (cross-buy with the iPad version) and honestly with the amount of content packed in I’d say it’s worth it! I haven’t played a game this awesome on my Phone since 2014’s Monument Valley or 2012’s Lili. It’s superb quality really shines through.
Let’s talk about GAMEPLAY now! Sunburn follows the standard puzzle-platformer trope of introducing new mechanics to spice up its levels. There are fireballs that rotate around the planets that instantly kill you and you have to manage your Oxygen very carefully lest you don’t kill all your colleagues in one string in time.
Did I mention there’s a gorgeous and quite festive Holiday theme? :D You can toggle it in Options.
You can refill via the planets with a light blue atmosphere, but be wary that there are glass planets that crack under stress. It’s very easy to fail (if you leave any colleagues behind, kill yourself via asphyxiation, or kill ANY of your colleagues without killing all of them (they “die alone”, which is a big no-no when it comes to winning in Sunburn) you fail). The game has a very different and odd style of difficulty spikes. Often after a stressful and taxing level (Level 55, Return of the Voidsnake comes to mind) there will be a very easy level with only a couple of space-buddies to save. It’s a nice break from dying alone and abandonment.
Where the game stumbles really hard is the difficulty spikes. I know it’s frowned upon to not complete a game before you review it, and honestly even MORE frowned upon by admitting to not complete a game before you review it. The later levels require insane amounts of splitsecond timing and are very much luck based affairs.
There are some slippery cracks in the originally-solid controls that come out when you play through the later levels, as one misstep can lead to a violent death or abandonment and failure. I was stuck on the aforementioned Level 55 for about a week before beating it while typing this review. Now I’m stuck on Level 57, but I’ll power through it. Sunburn is pretty awesome and fun, and also addicting as sin. The team at Secret Crush did an awesome job developing this kickass mobile game – and I’d love a Steam or console port - I give it an…
8.5/10 – Awesome!
Also, if you’ve heard of this game before, Destructoid’s own Jonathan Holmes not only interviewed the creators (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZmHHyhqunc) on Sup Holmes, but also covered the game when it went on sale last February. May be the reason why I picked it up, so if you’re reading this Holmes thanks a lot! :D