TouchArcade Game of the Week: ‘Mourning Star’


I love a game with a cool premise almost as much as I love a game with cool mechanics. Throw in an especially cool art style and overall vibe, and that’s a recipe for a winner. Nailing all 3 in your very first game release is impressive, as solo developer Ben Russell has done with Mourning Star which hit iOS and Android this week. First, that cool premise I was talking about. So let’s say the entire universe started with a Big Bang. Eventually, everything that was created runs its course, and then must die. This happens by way of a massive Vortex that swallows everything up almost like a reverse Big Bang. However, as all the planets and stars and everything that’s a part of the universe goes down the ol’ drain, one final star is selected to send them all on their way and mourn their loss. This is the Mourning Star.

As I said, a pretty cool premise. As for the cool mechanics? Well part of what I’m digging so much about Mourning Star is that it reminds me an awful lot of one of my all-time favorite mobile games: 2015’s Particle Mace. In Mourning Star you control the titular last star and swing it around the screen, interacting with everything that’s being swallowed up into the Vortex. Asteroids just need to be smashed by running into them. Dead Planets need to be “relit” by grazing them, but not running into them. Gas Giants can be run into which causes them to explode and take out any nearby asteroids. And on and on. Oh, and then there’s the Vortex itself. Spend too much time within it and your Mourning Star will lose mass, becoming ever smaller and eventually disappearing altogether, which ends the game.

The trick to all this is to either go around the Vortex in giant swooping circles, or quickly dash through the Vortex, as if you’re quick enough going through it you won’t lose mass. Of course this is all much, much easier said than done. There’s a definite learning curve to Mourning Star, and in the beginning it feels like you’re just smashing into stuff willy nilly with no control. However, the more you play, the more you get a feel of the physics of the Mourning Star and you can actually see your skill improving with each game. It’s very satisfying, and you’ll end up pulling off some extremely cool and memorable maneuvers during the course of the game.

Finally there’s the overall vibe of Mourning Star. I’d describe it as… Cosmic Hippie, maybe? Whatever it is, it’s quite trippy and incredibly deep at times. I mean you’re playing as some sort of omnipotent being controlling the Mourning Star in order to produce an endless cycle of Big Bangs. It’s crazy, man. More than anything though Mourning Star is just really fun to play, and really challenging. You can enjoy the first dozen or so levels completely for free with no ads or anything, so there’s no risk in giving it a shot. If you like that sampling the full game can be unlocked with a one-time IAP of $3.99. A paltry asking price for going on such a heavy intergalactic journey of the mind and universe, don’t you think?

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