If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then playing Kosmo Spin might just be part of a healthy iPhone gaming diet.
The adorable creation of independent developer Simogo, this merry-go-round arcade game involves saving the first meal of the day from the ravenous tractor beam of an alien spaceship.
It's a simple concept, though one with an air of quality similar to other casual iPhone hits like Angry Birds and Doodle Jump.
Have a ball
Using a finger to rotate a miniature planet, your goal is to save as many breakfast items as you can from being sucked up by an orbiting extraterrestrial.
Running over a piece of food is all it takes to secure it, but there's obviously a hitch. Not only can the alien deploy its tractor beam to grab items, but the beam can also take hold of your diminutive saviour. Succumb to abduction and it's Game Over.
There's another hazard: toy balls flung from from the alien's spaceship. Being hit by them isn't a problem - in fact, it's ideal - instead, you're paralysed if they make impact with the surface of the planet.
That's obviously a problem because you're more vulnerable to the tractor beam when stunned. Avoiding paralysis means positioning yourself underneath each ball so as to deflect it.
Each ball behaves differently, so the trick is learning the varying speeds and trajectories. Heavy footballs, for example, are easily butted away, but tennis balls have a habit of bouncing back to the planet.
Eliminating the latter requires careful positioning so that the ball hits the precise top of your avatar's head and is fully deflected.
In addition to earning points for each piece of breakfast food collected, you can also net double points by hitting the aggressor alien with a reflected ball. It's a tougher task than it seems, largely because the alien darts about fast enough to avoid any balls deflected its way.
Even more points await during mini-bonus rounds triggered when you collect enough food to fill a gauge at the top of the screen. Succeed and the planet's surface is covered with breakfast, and quickly drawing circles on the screen enables you to horde as much as possible during the short bonus.
Any time breakfast is snatched away by the alien, the gauge resets. Consequently, you have to be diligent in collecting each piece of food that appears and avoiding the tractor beam.
What's on the menu
A main High Score mode is joined by individual objective-driven levels in Quest mode, both of which are supported by Game Center leaderboards and achievements. As such, the game's simplicity should get a nice shot of replay value, which is my only concern.
While cute, Kosmo Spin could reveal itself to be too basic: however, the plain design of Doodle Jump, Fruit Ninja, and others proves that such an approach can succeed.
Kosmo Spin will be available as a universal for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad later this month.