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For: iPhone   Also on: iPad
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Over the moon with a comfortable landing

Product: 1968 | Developer: Attribite | Publisher: Attribite | Format: iPhone | Genre: Arcade | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
1968 iPhone, thumbnail 1
As alternative histories go, 1968's take on the first moon landings is one of the most pleasantly fanciful we've encountered.

Forget the USSR vs the USA, Neil Armstrong, one small step, and all that stuff. Attribite posits that the US landed a small car on the moon in the title year, and found that celestial body to be made entirely of cheese.

1968's presentation might be suitably monochrome, but its gameplay has a surprising amount of colour and depth to it.

Cheesy stunt

1968 is one of those physics-based casual driving games in the mould of Jelly Car 3 and Dream Track Nation.

That means guiding your little car through twisting, looping levels, delicately tapping and holding the right and left sides of the screen (for forward and reverse as well as rotating in the air) in order to maintain the appropriate momentum and alignment to carry you through.

Aligning your car correctly has rarely been as important as it is here. Landing (or hitting a surface) wheels-first will ensure a dampened contact, whilst hitting bumper-first will spring you off like a pogo stick.

Shaving off the seconds

While the goal is to get to the level end as quickly as possible, there are two other basic things to take into consideration.

IAPs explained
1968 is mercifully light on IAPs, with all of the major content available through good solid hard work (or fun, as the case may be).

However, you can opt to unlock all of the levels with a one-off £1.99 / $2.99 payment, which might be preferable for the less dedicated, as you'll need considerable skill and persistence to amass sufficient stars to progress beyond the second world.

As a bonus, your payment will mean your default car is changed to a VW Camper-style machine. Nice.
The first is that you need to collect all of the chunks of cheese present on each level. The other - and this bit is particularly clever - is that you shave off a whole second of time for every flip you complete.

The game's initially familiar three-star scoring system is closely tied to this mechanic. At first you'll be taken aback by how tough it seems to be on you, then you'll gradually realise that three-star scores are generally only attainable through extensive aerial gymnastics.

This works well at first, because actually getting through the early stages of 1968 in the most basic way possible is relatively simple. Completion is a breeze, but mastery is a true challenge for those who choose to accept it.

Off balance

This perfect balance is spoiled when some of the levels themselves start to get too tricky to navigate. The requirement for blind pinpoint jumps and perfect timing leads to numerous frustrating restarts, slightly tarnishing the game's initial breezy compulsion.

Fortunately, you're given the option to skip troublesome levels after a number of restarts, but this always feels unsatisfactory.

For much of the time, though, when 1968 remembers its delightfully absurd premise and satisfyingly balanced core components, it's an absolute riot.
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 31 May 2013
A charming and playable physics-based stunt racer with a number of neat little touches, though 1968's largely excellent level design occasionally throws up some frustration
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