Satellina takes the addictive pattern recognition elements of classic vertical shoot ‘em ups and maps them into an addictive twitch puzzler that demands both timing and spatial awareness.
Wait for the green light
Taking control of a small white orb, you must collect all of the green dots as quickly as possible while they spin, swing, and pulse around the screen. While that may sound easy, the challenge comes from having to avoid the yellow and red dots that are also spiraling around you. Touching any of these other colors instantly resets the stage, leaving you back at the beginning with the timer still ticking.
After you gather all of the green dots, the yellow dots turn green, the red turn yellow, and so on, until you are able to collect them all and are moved on to the next stage. There are five stages in each set of levels, and only by beating them in under a set time can you unlock the subsequent stages.
Set against a black background, the vivid primary colors make Satellina really striking. While the starkness of this could make for a tranquil Zen-like experience, being accompanied by the game's fantastic pulsing synth soundtrack manages to give a sense of urgency to the high-score chasing puzzling.
Touch and go
Satellina’s proportional controls have you intuitively dragging your little avatar around the screen with ease, as you dodge and weave your way through the treacherous patterns. On larger screens the 1:1 default setting works incredibly well, but on smaller devices this proved a little unreactive, leaving my finger regularly covering where my eyes needed to be.
Fortunately, among Satellina's many settings (which include the option to change the default hues for colorblind players) is a control that provides three different levels of sensitivity. I found the middle of these to be the happy medium for me. This allowed me the speed to get in between a sea of orbiting green and yellow orbs, while also providing the precision required to trace my way along the edge of a rotating star surrounded by green orbs - all without ever letting my thumb sneak in to block the action.
Tight twitch trails
Satellina is a brilliant puzzle game for more dexterous players. The blend of skills required may frustrate some of its target audience – but, if you get bitten by the reactive twitch gameplay of the later stages, you will find that this is a game that you constantly return to try and beat your high scores.