A Long Way Home ($0.99) is a space-themed puzzle game with lots of attention given to both the artwork and music. If you're in the mood for a slow-paced, atmospheric puzzler, this app might be worth checking out.
The story begins as Eddie, your handy wrist computer, debriefs you on your current situation. Your ship has disintegrated, and you're left stranded on a spinning asteroid. Eddie explains that you might be close enough to Earth to return there using a portable wormhole generator. Unfortunately, you're low on the Dark Matter required to fire it. Your task will be to navigate each stage collecting Dark Matter in order to create a wormhole and complete the level. To complete the game, you'll need to complete 100 stages in 10 galaxies on your way back to Earth.
The artwork is really stunning in this app, and the backdrops for each puzzle stage usually contain a variety of well-rendered celestial bodies. Complementing this artwork is an impressive ambient musical score that sets the mood for a lonely journey back home.
Gameplay in A Long Way Home is rather slow and methodical. It's much less about quick-twitch reactions as it is about a game plan and good execution. Later levels, especially, will require you to look before you leap in order to solve the stage. That being said, there was a fair bit of trial and error as I played, as some of the jumps need to be very precise. Some of the stages required numerous restarts as I failed to get the perfect jump angle, and once the jump key is pressed, there's no way to make corrections. I found this to be a bit frustrating at times, but this tended to be more from my lack of skill than any gameplay design.
Overall, I really like this app. It isn't flashy or action-packed, and some might even find it a bit dull, but it works. The story is about drifting through space, and the game does a great job of giving me the feeling that I'm doing the same. Only a handful of games for the iPad can produce an emotional response, as A Long Way Home did for me. I hope it can do the same for you.