The Game: Your spaceship falls toward a forbidden, craggy landscape where there’s only one safe landing spot. Using your ship’s landing engine, you have to guide it down to the surface for a picture-perfect landing – not too fast, not at an angle, and without running out of fuel in the process. After each successful landing, you move on to another world, and another spaceship in need of your piloting skills. (Ted Sczcypiorski [published by Packrat Video Games], 2004)
Memories: So, another iteration of Lunar Lander for my amusement. You may be thinking to yourself, “I’m already trying not to crash-land my ship in Out Of This World!, so why would I want to do the same here?” The answer is simple – where the aforementioned classic Odyssey2 spaceship-landing title gives you control of nothing but thrust, Planet Lander gives you the whole crap-your-pants-and-hold-your-breath-while-you-look-for-a-place-to-set-down-in-the-Sea-of-Tranquility shebang. So to speak. It’s on a par with Lunar Lander for replay value, and boasts unusually intricate graphics for an Odyssey2 game, homebrew or otherwise.
With no aliens to fight off or lasers to fire, your only enemies in Planet Lander are time and physics. Both are fairly unforgiving. The game chucks you into deep trouble from the word go – that’s not to say that it’s impossibly difficult, just that you’d better be thinking on your feet the moment that “next planet” intermission screen is over. But don’t overreact either – popping yourself almost into orbit doesn’t expend any less fuel, and worse yet, until you drop back into view, your speed and position relative to the landing site are literally up in the air(lessness).
Ted Sczcypiorski’s first Odyssey homebrew is a winner, fun to play and very much in the best “holy cow, I didn’t know this machine could do that!” tradition of the best homebrew games on any console. Highly recommended.