Lunacy Unleashed: Lunar Flight

By Adam Smith on February 27th, 2012 at 11:48 am.

To the moon!

Monday morning is my time for calming soundscapes and otherworldly experience. The other world in this case is The Moon, the one you’ve been casting longing glances at for much of your life, thinking ‘one day I will build a robot factory upon you, the moon, one day.’ Today is not that day but Lunar Flight, which I’ve enthusiastically enthused about before, has since been released on Desura and Gamers Gate for £6.99. It’s a lander simulation that seems simple at first but quickly becomes complex as you spin moon-ward, the last of your fuel burning away in an attempt to correct a course that ends in a crater of your own making. There’s a launch trailer below.

Some handsome devil proclaims it to be a ‘remarkably beautiful game’, eh? I can only concur with such wisdom.

It really is though. with music the match of the visuals. It’s a design that reminds me oddly of Uplink, being an excellent representation of what you would see in the situation simulated. Lonely and even eerie at times, the surface of the moon feels a long way from home, and it’s the experience and depiction of place that is most impressive about Lunar Flight.

The missions themselves, which never cease to be generated by the bases, are a case of thrusting from point to point and they involve forward planning rather than twitchy adjustments. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve spent a great deal of time twitchily adjusting but it’s often ended in disaster. A successful pilot is one who plots his route and uses a degree of strategy in regards to fuel conservation, working out how to set a trajectory that requires the least amount of burn. When it all works, it’s actually relaxing. When it doesn’t, panic is your only companion.

My experiences with the beta were almost entirely positive, although with the rather obvious caveat that if you don’t want to step into the moonboots of a lander pilot there isn’t much else to do. No aliens to fight, no mysterious ruins to discover, just the graft of a career in lunar labour. Progress allows for upgrades, leaderboard bragging rights and a sense of calm satisfaction.

I had intended to spend more time on the moon with the full release but busy happened and I’m reaching the point where if I don’t actually mention the release, I won’t get around to it until Mars Flight has been released, simulating the historical construction of the first Mars robot factory.

Do you like the moon? Do you like patient and satisfying simulation? Do give this a go.

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22 Comments »

  1. Ice-Fyre says:

    I wish there was a game where you could be the moon :-(

  2. philbot says:

    I love games that have so many buttons, some of them you never even know what they do. Must check this one out.

  3. FFabian says:

    meh I’d hoped for some sort of Lunar base managment sim. Just flying around in your ugly lander and doing fetch missions seems quite boring to me.

  4. The Tupper says:

    This really looks quite the thing.

  5. Gasmask Hero says:

    Brings back terrible flashbacks of Lunar Lander. Mostly involving blind rage and cassettes being flung around like shurikens.

  6. Hoaxfish says:

    I don’t know, have you got anything more realistic like Kerbal Space Program?

  7. Papageno says:

    Is this a remake of sorts of the old game where you had to find and retrieve the 5 components of the lunar trading computer and find them while you were trading among the various lunar settlements? The automated defense systems would try to shoot you down… Anyone remember what that one was called?

  8. cassus says:

    Bought this while it was still in beta a few months back. This game is lots of fun. If you’ve ever played games like Solar Jetman or Lunar Lander, this is kind of the same thing, only in first person mode. Physics feel very nice, and the suspense you have when you’re gliding over to the other base and realize you’ve already spent more than half your fuel… It’s sort of slow motion panic :) Like it a lot. And also, it’s unbelievably pretty. Pretty in a very realistic and immersive way.

  9. Solrax says:

    But why, oh why, does he use the ancient LEM spacecraft doing things it is completely incapable of instead of making a new model? They obviously know how to make their own 3D models for the base. Why not make their own lander?

    The idea of playing a realistic moon ‘flight” simulation in a LEM sets up such cognitive dissonance in my mind I simply can’t see buying this… It would be like saying “here’s a great new commercial jet airliner flight sim” and using a Fokker Triplane as the model.

    • sh0v0r says:

      The game is ‘fictional’ and meant for entertainment and fun it is not a hardcore serious simulation. It does feature realistic physics and accurate units of scale though. I used the LEM because it is iconic and identifiable and is easier for most people to relate too. If realism is your thing I recommend the inaccessible but otherwise awesome Orbiter, if not then I can only suggest you switch off and give it a try you might find yourself having fun… :)

    • Solrax says:

      Thank you for your polite and informative explanation. Perhaps I am too much of a space geek. It does sound like a game I will enjoy very much, and I will indeed give it a try.

      However, if I like it I will be first in line for paid DLC of a space truck model of some sort :)

    • Ruminator says:

      I hate to admit it, but the LEM has been the biggest turn off for me as well. I understand the game is not meant to be a sim, but the judgmental space nerd within balks at the thought of hopping about the moon in the LEM.

      With luck I will overcome this affliction sooner than later.

    • sh0v0r says:

      In a way what my game demonstrates is the feasibility of the LEM being able to used this way, much like the experimental trainer they used on earth to practice in. It is a VTOL craft even though its specific purpose was to descend and land.

      After thousands of hours playing the game (biased I know) I still enjoy playing it, there’s something I find very interesting about the flight model and physics and I have tried to made it as immersive and engaging as I can. I’ve come to have a real fondness for the ungainly looking contraption. I think part of the games fear factor comes from the sense that it is old technology; a feeling of vulnerability. Even after all the practice I have had I still crash or run out of fuel which goes to show that there is a good level of depth which should give you hours and hours of play to perfect.

      I really think you guys will have a good time with the game, it will challenge your understanding of the physics behaviour involved, that’s for sure. ;)

      If you want to see more of the game I have a 10 part series of tutorial videos demonstrating how to play the game here. http://www.shovsoft.com/lunarflight/?page_id=148

  10. neonordnance says:

    Um, not that this doesn’t look sweet, but doesn’t “Shovsoft” sound a bit too close to “Shovelware?”

  11. Arbodnangle Scrulp says:

    Bring it to STEEEEAAAAMMMMMM

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