Sky Tourist’s early stages may have you convinced you’re playing a new iOS classic. Its inventive controls see you manoeuvring rockets either side of the screen, connected by a rope on which your intergalactic sightseer rides. The inertia and physics are beautifully judged. You’ll gingerly nudge your delicate cargo in either direction with tentative shifts of each thumb, before your confidence swells and you ping him about with abandon. Complacency is your biggest enemy in the early game, with a taut rope liable to snap, though earning a star for reaching the goal without dying seems simple enough in the gentle opening courses with their relaxing ambiance and bright, appealing art.
Then it turns the screw, too swiftly and too tightly. Before long you’re squeezing through the narrowest of gaps, past retracting spikes, swinging hammers and between moving laser barriers, and the inherent imprecision of those controls begins to irritate. Accidental snags on scenery are an all too common occurrence, an issue exacerbated by the widening gaps between checkpoints. Occasionally you’ll get completely stuck: pass through a rotating barrier from the wrong side and there may be no way back. Of course, the game doesn’t bother to alert you in these scenarios – you’ll need to discover your mistake for yourself.
With its best ideas exhausted long before the developer tires of them, some moments of real ingenuity are swamped by busywork. At times, you’ll admire the craftsmanship, but Sky Tourist is often too busy trying to be clever to remember to be fun.
Sky Tourist is out now on the App Store. iPad version tested.