Earlier today we learned that SGN, a mobile gaming company that focuses on the iPhone/iPad and will soon be expanding to Android, had raised $2 million from Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s Tomorrow Ventures and Xing founder Lars Hinrichs. Today SGN is also making its 3D shooter EXO-Planet Elite available for the iPhone and iPod Touch in the hopes of recreating the success of its hit Skies of Glory. The game runs $4.99, and you can buy it on the App Store here.
EXO-Planet, which was an iPad launch title but wasn’t available on the iPhone or iPod Touch until now, is a third-person shooter set in space, with a nifty grappling hook mechanic that lets players fling themselves to the other side of a room with one tap. Gameplay is primarily multiplayer — hit Deathmatch or Capture the Flag, and the game’s matchmaking system will usually have you playing a game in a few seconds. This update also introduces a single player time trial mode.
We first profiled the game in early April, and it was one of the first games I tried when I got my hands on an iPad. At the time, I wasn’t too impressed — the game looked compelling, but the controls were really difficult. Despite a lifetime of gaming experience, I couldn’t figure out how to get my character unstuck from the magnetic ceiling, and then I somehow flung myself into an endless abyss. Fortunately, it looks like those problems have been fixed, and the game is starting to live up to its potential.
I fired up the iPad version for the first time in months and quickly jumped into an online multiplayer Deathmatch. The game was still a little disorienting for a few minutes, but I quickly got the hang of it and managed to rack up three kills in my first game (I may have died ten times, but that was a lot better than I did the first time I tried to play).
And it looks like the iPhone version is actually better than the iPad version — the smaller form factor makes it a bit easier to control. And the iPhone obviously has a much larger userbase than the iPad, so despite the game’s slow start a few months ago, SGN may be able to turn EXO-Planet into another hit.
Here’s a video review done by the folks over at AppSpy that gives you an idea of how the gameplay works.