While it may have started in the skies with Flight Control, the iPhone's popular line drawing genre has taken us to every port of call we could imagine. Harbors, railways – even the African Savannah. It would seem as though the line drawing genre has explored every possible earthly situation. Now, thanks to Space Dock, you can take your line drawing experience to the stars.
Like most games in the line drawing genre, the objective in Space Dock is to draw safe paths for different vehicles to reach their destinations. Different vehicles have different destinations, and you'll need to micro-manage each of these vehicles travels to make sure that none of them collide. Unlike other games in the genre though, Space Dock adds a few new twists that set this game apart from its competitors.
Readily apparent in Space Dock's bag of tricks are game changing obstacles that will keep even the most seasoned line-drawer on their toes. Asteroid showers will rain down wrecking any ships in their path. Survivors from these ships will float around, waiting to be rescued by the first red ship you can get to them. Until that happens, they too become hazardous obstacles for the other ships to navigate around. UFO's will also pop into the fray, looking to abduct wayward spacemen. While nothing ground-breaking, the gameplay twists do more than enough to offer a fresh take on a genre that is rapidly growing stale.
Space Dock also brings an element of social experience to the table. As part of the AGON Network, you'll be able to earn achievements and compare high scores with gamers from around the world. But while Space Dock brings some welcome additions to the line drawing genre, it's forgotten some of the lessons of its forebears. Sadly, these issues bring Space Dock to a screeching halt.
Space Dock's major stumbling point, of which there are a few, lies in its color scheme. Space is a rather dull and drab place, and Space Dock reflects this beautifully. Their overuse of the color grey however, can too easily leads to confusion. Grey spaceships flying over a grey space station cause collisions that you'll fail to notice until it's too late. Like most games in the genre, a flashing alarm will alert you to an accident about to occur, but unlike other games the alarm timer is so short that these accidents are nearly always unavoidable.
ships themselves seem to offer no differences beyond the cosmetic, which is a bit of a shame. Line drawing is always at its finest when the vehicles come in different speeds and sizes. That's simply not the case here.
The ships also tend to be a little problematic at their moments of arrival and departure. Rather than smoothly flying in from another direction with a bit of a heads up, the ships materialize around the border of the screen – often right in the path of another vehicle. What's more, while these ships are visible during their materialization process, they can't be guided until they're a solid on the screen. This can create a frustrating delay and a definite distraction from the ships that could actually use your attention.
Guiding spacecraft to the landing area can be equally as frustrating. The game features a deceptively large landing bay for two of the three ship types. Deceptive, because you'll still need to line your ships up with the center of the bay for a landing path to lock in. On more than one occasion ships that we thought were going to land safely ended up flying past their intended target and crashing right into an oncoming vehicle.
Space Dock adds some great twists to the line drawing genre, but the struggles and fumbles we found in the actual gameplay took all the fun out of those additions. Even at 99 cents there are far better line drawing games on the market. Sure they don't offer achievements or an outer space theme, but unlike Space Dock, its competitors have it where it counts.