Price: $0.99   Score: 8/10    Category: Games

has had their hand at PacMan, To-fu, and Star Wars. Now they’re back with a loveable intergalactic adventure called Spacelings.

Like most save-the-world puzzlers (or in this case save-critters-in-space puzzlers), Spacelings begins in the middle of crisis. The evil Roborgs have abducted our loveable green Spacelings and the only thing that can save them is your ability to control the home ship in extraterrestrial lands.

You can bring Spacelings back with a beam that sucks them into the mother ship, but the going gets tough when you have to maximize your spaceship’s capabilities to zap up all the Spacelings interspersed throughout the game’s 100 levels.

Some of the key limitations are the fact that your spacecraft beam can’t cross itself en route or make too many turns without losing power. Add to that the challenge of time bombs and bringing your beloved green aliens home becomes tougher than tough.

Of course the game doesn’t start that way. In the beginning tutorial levels you learn how to swipe your blue beam toward the Spacelings, speed them up on their way home, and much more. Each level only takes ten or so seconds in the beginning, and each Spaceling saved means another badge and lots and lots of points.

Then the game starts to rev up the level of difficulty with beam slingshots, time bombs, and much more. Spacelings start exploding before they make it to the home ship, meaning some levels take multiple tries before you can move on. Fortunately for gamers though, black holes create instances where you can perfect your skills in one galaxy before conquering a level in another.

The whole process is maddeningly satisfying, but perhaps not for everyone. Spacelings players have to really enjoy the process, and an appreciation for creative execution on the part of HotGen won’t hurt along the way either.

Bottom Line: Don’t let the especially cute graphics fool you, Spacelings is tougher than your typical puzzler and all the better for it.