Neon Surge has released an iPhone port of their open source, multi-platform 3D side scroller SolarQuest [App Store] through the iTunes App Store. Winner of uDevGames 2004 Mac Game Programming contest (Macintosh version), SolarQuest for the iPhone features multitouch controls and makes use of the iPhone's vibration feature for in-game rumble effects.

At its core, SolarQuest is a simple title. It's basically a graphically updated version of the classic 2D side scroller Snake / SFCave in which the player controls an object moving through an ever-scrolling corridor filled with obstacles, the only control being an upward thrust (yes, upward) which is either on or off. Thanks to gravity, the player weaves a sinusoidal path through the levels while dodging obstacles by applying well-timed thrusts.

To this equation, SolarQuest adds a 3D spacecraft, 3D obstacles, a parallax scrolling 2D/3D landscape, bonus pick-up items, and afterburner control for two rates of forward travel. In the iPhone version, the player controls thrust on/off with one thumb and afterburner on/off with another.

While SolarQuest is the most graphically impressive rendition of this formula I've seen, I must in all honesty say that despite all the bells and whistles, I actually find the simpler, graphically bland versions to be more entertaining. A very simple web version of the game gives you a taste of the gameplay.

Readers may also want to be aware that I encountered occasional graphical glitches in the game and a few unexpected quits.  The developer seems to be working on these issues, however.

I will call $2.99 a fair price for this title when the glitches are ironed out, and I'm guessing that will be soon.

Game Details

Name: SolarQuest (v1.0)
Developer: Neon Surge
App Store Link: Buy
Price: $2.99
Size: 3.0MB

TouchArcade Rating

  • bob

    nice, but short, not many levels

  • bob

    nice, but short, not many levels

  • arn

    the gameplay is not what I expected. When I first saw the screenshot, I was hoping for a R-type sort of side scrolling shooter.

    arn

  • arn

    the gameplay is not what I expected. When I first saw the screenshot, I was hoping for a R-type sort of side scrolling shooter.

    arn

  • http://www.blakespot.com blakespot

    As was I. I was surprised to download it and see it was SFCave on steroids. I like SFCave, mind you. Just a surprise. We need R-Type for the iPhone!

  • http://www.blakespot.com blakespot

    As was I. I was surprised to download it and see it was SFCave on steroids. I like SFCave, mind you. Just a surprise. We need R-Type for the iPhone!

  • OldSkool

    This reminds me a lot of Defender. Only less fun.

  • OldSkool

    This reminds me a lot of Defender. Only less fun.

  • chuckiej

    I can only assume they did not do a trademark search and they will run into problems. SolarQuest is a monopoly style board game based on the solar system.

  • chuckiej

    I can only assume they did not do a trademark search and they will run into problems. SolarQuest is a monopoly style board game based on the solar system.

  • mixel

    Yeah, I thought it'd be like Defender! From the map at the top.. But seems it's just like another game in the appstore already..

    http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=284428894&mt=8 - Spacewormy. :D

  • mixel

    Yeah, I thought it'd be like Defender! From the map at the top.. But seems it's just like another game in the appstore already..

    http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=284428894&mt=8 - Spacewormy. :D

  • arn

    at least it's prettier than spacewormy :)

    arn

  • arn

    at least it's prettier than spacewormy :)

    arn

  • http://www.3deified.net Easy Writer

    This platform needs a full-blown Solar Jetman-styled title.

  • http://www.3deified.net Easy Writer

    This platform needs a full-blown Solar Jetman-styled title.

  • http://blakespot.com blakespot

    @Easy Writer: retro for the win. I love that game on the NES emu for my GP2X.

  • http://blakespot.com blakespot

    @Easy Writer: retro for the win. I love that game on the NES emu for my GP2X.

  • http://neonsusrge.net/solarquest Neon Surge

    Hey guys, version 1.1 went live finally last night and it fixes ALL the bugs. Please go update. If I can, toucharcade you might want to re-review it. The new version with accelerometer gameplay just becomes a LOT easier and more fun. Most of the people we gave to play the game that were previously a little frustrate can now play the game, and they really enjoy it! In addition we sped up the game a LOT, there's now roughly 50% more frames per second! It's impressive.

    Cheers, and thanks all for your patience. Other great features like Online Ranked High Scores and Localization for some of the major languages, a few new levels since now it's easier to beat, and you can actually get to level 8 regularly (with some practice, hehe), and others.

    Later guys!

    - Neon Surge

  • http://neonsusrge.net/solarquest Neon Surge

    Hey guys, version 1.1 went live finally last night and it fixes ALL the bugs. Please go update. If I can, toucharcade you might want to re-review it. The new version with accelerometer gameplay just becomes a LOT easier and more fun. Most of the people we gave to play the game that were previously a little frustrate can now play the game, and they really enjoy it! In addition we sped up the game a LOT, there's now roughly 50% more frames per second! It's impressive.

    Cheers, and thanks all for your patience. Other great features like Online Ranked High Scores and Localization for some of the major languages, a few new levels since now it's easier to beat, and you can actually get to level 8 regularly (with some practice, hehe), and others.

    Later guys!

    - Neon Surge

  • http://neonsusrge.net/solarquest Neon Surge

    Oh and I forgot, the new version has background music and a settings screen to tweak the accelerometer, and sound effects/music levels.

    Cheers!

  • http://neonsusrge.net/solarquest Neon Surge

    Oh and I forgot, the new version has background music and a settings screen to tweak the accelerometer, and sound effects/music levels.

    Cheers!

  • Constable Odo

    I thought this game was going to be like Defender with constant firing and powerup shields and stuff. Bumping coins and floating thingamajigs with the rocket's snout doesn't quite cut it for me. I'm not cutting the gameplay down, I was just expecting something different.

  • Constable Odo

    I thought this game was going to be like Defender with constant firing and powerup shields and stuff. Bumping coins and floating thingamajigs with the rocket's snout doesn't quite cut it for me. I'm not cutting the gameplay down, I was just expecting something different.

  • http://neonsusrge.net/solarquest Neon Surge

    First, the price noted in this article is wrong, the game is only $2.99

    Also, the new version of this game should be live within the week (waiting on Apple to review it, as always). It will have online ranking for scores (optional), fixes all the accelerometer bugs, improved audio and the game is now HALF the size it was before, and other things, check out the official changelist...

    - Fixed accelerometer bugs (stuck at top)
    - Smoothed out accelerometer
    - No collision into invisible top/bottom
    - Online Score Ranking Submission and Viewing
    - Ability to cancel high score entry
    - Greatly reduced memory usage
    - Added Localization: Spanish
    - Greatly reduced size of game (only 2MB)
    - Terrain engine performance improvements
    - Added end level animation and sound
    - Improved sound performance (no skipping)

    Maybe you guys can give this a game a re-review when it gets the 2.1 update, I think you'll be most pleased.

  • http://neonsusrge.net/solarquest Neon Surge

    First, the price noted in this article is wrong, the game is only $2.99

    Also, the new version of this game should be live within the week (waiting on Apple to review it, as always). It will have online ranking for scores (optional), fixes all the accelerometer bugs, improved audio and the game is now HALF the size it was before, and other things, check out the official changelist...

    - Fixed accelerometer bugs (stuck at top)
    - Smoothed out accelerometer
    - No collision into invisible top/bottom
    - Online Score Ranking Submission and Viewing
    - Ability to cancel high score entry
    - Greatly reduced memory usage
    - Added Localization: Spanish
    - Greatly reduced size of game (only 2MB)
    - Terrain engine performance improvements
    - Added end level animation and sound
    - Improved sound performance (no skipping)

    Maybe you guys can give this a game a re-review when it gets the 2.1 update, I think you'll be most pleased.

  • http://neonsusrge.net/solarquest Neon Surge

    The new version is live! Go check it out, you'll be very impressed, the game is very polished, we've already had some great feedback from existing customers in the hour or so it's been live. :) Cheers!

  • http://neonsusrge.net/solarquest Neon Surge

    The new version is live! Go check it out, you'll be very impressed, the game is very polished, we've already had some great feedback from existing customers in the hour or so it's been live. :) Cheers!