In literal terms, Aphelion is defined as, “The point in the orbit of a planet or comet where it is farthest from the Sun,” (thank you, Wikipedia). In the App World, however, Aphelion is the addictive new logic puzzler from Scandinavian design team HellFish Studios that has had me glued to my iPhone for the last few hours.
With a futuristic, TRON-style interface and a minimal electro soundtrack, this app is almost like a paean to the 80s computer games that had so many of us entranced as children. The aim of the game is to move the orbs around the maze of squares and get them to their goals in as few moves as possible. Sound simple? Well, it is, provided that you stay on the easier levels; however, as you progress through the game, it gets increasingly trickier and you may find yourself stuck in some head-scratching situations. Plus, you can only flick the orbs against walls, meaning that they can’t hover in the middle of the screen; remember to use the starting positions wisely as you may not be able to return to them once they’re moved.
Instead of being divided into Easy, Medium and Hard, the levels have cuter titles: ‘Getting Started’, ‘Entertain Me’, ‘Challenge Me’ and, my favourite, ‘Is This Possible?’. As with many gaming apps nowadays, you can challenge your friends on Facebook and Twitter and enter into taunting wars by climbing up the leaderboard. Help is on hand if you need it with a Hint if you are stuck, with the app making the perfect move for you; however, these are limited, so use them carefully.
The in-app purchases are worth checking out; the Premium Version means that you don’t have any of the pop-up ads that interrupt the free version’s gameplay and you can also get a Hint Pack with 10, 25 or 40 Hints loaded on to the app to help you out when times get tough.
The beauty of the app lies in its simplicity; with a seemingly endless number of combinations to work out, thanks to the varied boards and orb starting positions, this is a great little app for those of us who want to waste time and particularly useful for kids in science class who want to learn the cooler definition of some of our galactic terminology…