A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Ease of Play
Simple controls, but challenging to use, especially in multiplayer. There's no tutorial and no explanation of power-ups or upgrades.
Violence & Scariness
The game centers around shooting incoming aliens before they can attack you, but no blood or gore's shown.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Space Cycler is a rail shooter game for iOS devices with a multiplayer option. The entire experience involves shooting alien creatures before they reach your ship. Controls are incredibly simple -- players press and move their finger along a slider to shoot and move around -- but because the guns rotate around a tunnel and the slider is straight, kids might find it frustrating to control. This is especially true in multiplayer co-op where one player can effectively block another from moving to safety. There's no tutorial or help, so understanding power-ups and upgrades is a matter of trial and error. The multiplayer option involves two users sharing one device, which can be challenging, but does help minimize sibling battles over play time.
Is It Any Good?
There's chaotic entertainment value in this shooter, but the visually confusing controls and lack of tutorial or help may sap all the fun. Space Cycler is a nod to arcade games of the past, but it brings along some of the challenges they faced as well. The biggest issue is that there's a straight slider to control circular ship movement. It creates a visual disconnect that results in players sliding their fingers all over the screen and often right off the control area. This is compounded in multiplayer where they can actually take control over each other's ships entirely by accident.
The levels feel long and there's no way to save mid-level. For a casual game, that's a challenge as it limits some of the pick-up play you'd expect in the genre. And lastly, there's no description of the power-ups and upgrades. Long-time gamers will likely be able to guess at some of them, but without some trial and error, they may just remain a mystery. Despite the drawbacks, it's great to have a two-player game that can be enjoyed on a shared device and the lack of in-app purchases is refreshing. Space Cycler has potential, but it needs a bit more polish to hit the mark.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.