Review: NeonSurge SolarQuest


On July 30, 2008, iLounge published iPhone Gems: Cards, Gambling + Arcade-Style Games, a feature article looking at seven assorted games developed for the iPhone OS. This review focuses on only one title from the collection; you can read the full article, with screenshots of all of the games together, through the link above.

Review: NeonSurge SolarQuest

The early days of arcade and computer gaming introduced players to a number of space-themed game concepts, including Lunar Lander, where you controlled a ship’s thrust and direction as it tries to safely land on the Moon, and Defender, where you piloted a ship that zipped through horizontally presented scrolling alien planets, trying to shoot rather than crashing into other spacecrafts. SolarQuest ($3) from NeonSurge is a melding of these two games with modern graphics and certain reductions: like Lunar Lander, you need to constantly maintain control over your ship’s vertical position to keep it from scraping the ceiling, ground, or other obstacles, and like Defender, you’re zipping across alien landscapes at as high a speed as you can tolerate using an on-screen right arrow button. Unlike Defender, though, you’re not shooting anything, just collecting coins, and you can’t turn around; SolarQuest is all about progressing from left to right to clear levels.


Review: NeonSurge SolarQuest

Review: NeonSurge SolarQuest

On a positive note, SolarQuest’s graphics are actually pretty impressive. The coins, ships, and certain obstacles are 3-D models, while the backgrounds are attractive flat bitmaps with parallax layers of scrolling. On the flip side, there’s no music, very little audio accompaniment for the action, and the gameplay is at best simplistic, at worst not a lot of fun. The premise is essentially to beat the effects of gravity and speed while collecting points and advancing through eight levels, a concept that could as easily apply to a classic dune buggy game such as Moon Patrol, but it gets old pretty quickly here. When you lose all your ships and start from the beginning, you probably won’t care to keep playing the same old boring stages again. We’d rate SolarQuest in the C range, because it needs something more to really prove compelling, but between the quality bitmapped artwork and the 3-D ship animation, we wouldn’t be surprised if either this title or a sequel eventually proved to be worthy of a higher rating.

Table of Contents

Our Rating


Company and Price

Company: NeonSurge


Title: SolarQuest

Players: One

Price: $3

Compatible: iPod touch, iPhone, iPhone 3G

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Jeremy Horwitz

Jeremy Horwitz was the Editor-in-Chief at iLounge. He has written over 5,000 articles and reviews for the website and is one of the most respected members of the Apple media. Horwitz has been following Apple since the release of the original iPod in 2001. He was one of the first reviewers to receive a pre-release unit of the device, and his review helped put iLounge on the map as a go-to source for Apple news.