Early Look: Apollo 69 Fires Itself Onto Facebook

Young, 2009-founded social developer Nimbus Games released Apollo 69 on Facebook in early March. It’s an arcade-style game that has players launching hamsters into low orbit to achieve a distance-determined “high-score.”

Other than visual style, Apollo 69 isn’t terribly different than older titles Paf le Chien or Kickmania! where players use cannons, explosives, and other power-ups to launch a projectile as far as possible. In Apollo 69, players launch a hamster out of a swiveling cannon, timing a spacebar press or mouse click first to stop it at the ideal angle and then a second to time to determine launch strength via a fluctuating power meter. Once airborne, the hamster’s flight is affected by whatever he hits or by power-ups a player can activate to gain extra distance, like a grenade. Striking birds in the air or jello on the ground will slow him down, while landing on explosive packages, balloons, or other cannons will send him farther. During flight, the hamster collects coins whenever he happens to touch them. Players can use coins to purchase more powerful launch cannons. Each launch costs the player energy, meaning a player can only fire so many hamsters in one sitting. Players can increase energy by inviting friends to the game, but for the most part, social interaction comes from leaderboards and wall posts.

If there were one difference between Apollo 69 and its predecessors, it would be that players can complete achievements to earn “Stars,” which can be used to upgrade special items. As mentioned above, some items give the player an extra distance boost when used after launching the hamster. For example, using a grenade will re-launch the hamster once it hits the ground, while a spring boost item passively improves all launching items he happens to hit. Each item or power-up, if not consumable, uses up large portions of energy when activated.

Apollo 69 monetizes by selling consumable items for virtual currency simply named “Money.” The currency can be bought in quantities of 200, 600, and 1300 with Facebook Credits equivalent to $2, $5, and $10 amounts respectively. The virtual currency can also be earned by completing offers through SuperRewards.

Because the game is still very young, developer Nimbus Games tells ISG that it is open to user feedback to improve the game. According to the developer, there are still about 50% more features to add including viral hooks, new levels with new items, a leveling system for the hamster with character customization, and an equipment system where players can construct things from from items collected in flight.

In the meantime, Nimbus Games tells us that they will be expanding their collection of quiz games like News Geek to include health, kids, and music, eventually combining all of them into a larger meta-game. The developer also just released a hidden object game called Seek & Find Emporium to Facebook. Readers can track it and Apollo 69’s traffic trends on AppData, our tracking service for social games and developers.

Publish date: April 4, 2011 https://dev.adweek.com/digital/apollo-69-nimbus-games-facebook/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT