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Rocket Man: Captain Ludwig on the iPhone Review

I think you will spend 179 seconds reading this post

It could be said that many of the best games take a very simple element and highlight it. Games like Pac Man or Tetris take a relatively simple concept and stretch them out into full games. But, what’s often overlooked is that the games that really last tend to have a style about them that draws your attention. The same could be said of Captain Ludwig by Mudloop, a space-themed puzzle game on sale this weekend for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

The mechanics of Captain Ludwig are simple to explain and the controls are fairly easy as well – you control Captain Ludwig as he rotates around a circular planet. When you tap the screen anywhere, he flies off in that direction, presumably toward another planet. Tap the screen too soon or too late, and you’ll rocket poor Captain Ludwig off the screen and lose one of your five lives. Each level is completed by visiting all of the planets before you run out of lives. Each of the 21 levels in Captain Ludwig, like many good games, slowly ramps up the intensity of the game by introducing new elements, some good – like stars you can collect for extra points and hears that replenish your lives – and some dangerous, like moving mines and barriers.

The result is a fairly simple game executed very well – the ramping challenge of the game slowly acclamates the user to additional challenges, but the pace is extremely well balanced. By the time you master the later levels, you will wonder how you had trouble with earlier ones, which is a sign of a game that is training its players well. And, at other times, you’ll master the new element introduced and mess up just before the end, sending Captain Ludwig just off-course – the sign of a strong, challenging initial concept.

Of course, special attention should be drawn to the style of Captain Ludwig, which is described in many other reviews as “minimalistic” – it is minimalistic, to be sure, but it is also extremely well-executed in every way – pleasing gradients on the planets match well with the moving, star-field pastel backgrounds. Even though there is not a lot on the screen, it feels full and the entire presentation of the app, from the startup screen to the gameplay itself, is so clean and fresh that it is easy to buy into Mudloop’s vision. The catchy music and excellent sound effects give the game a very futuristic feel, and if you get tired of the game’s included track, you can listen to your own music in the background.

Finally, the game integrates OpenFeint very smoothly, giving achievements for completing each level perfectly (without losing a life) and keeping track of your score and time on a global scoreboard. The open feint integration gives the game a bit more replay, as players can and will go back through earlier levels to attempt to complete them perfectly, once they are a bit beyond them on the learning curve

Captain Ludwig is on sale this weekend from its normal price of $1.99, and also has a Lite version available which contains the first four levels. Captain Ludwig is definitely worth the download, especially if you can catch it this weekend for free. Captain Ludwig is a very cohesive, extremely stylish and fun experience, all built around a fairly simple concept that carries through 21 strongly designed levels. What more can you ask for?

Download Captain Ludwig from the iTunes App Store (Free this weekend)!

Download Captain Ludwig Lite from the iTunes App Store!

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