So­lar Walk 2

An App Store star re­turns, but does it bet­ter its fore­bear?

Mac Format - - RATED -

£2.29 De­vel­oper Vito Tech­nol­ogy, vi­totech­nol­ Works with iPhone, iPod touch, iPad Version 1.0.1

So­lar Walk 2 is a touch­screen take on an or­rery. You drag your fin­ger around to re­ori­ent the so­lar sys­tem, pinch­ing to zoom in and out, and then tap ce­les­tial bod­ies to fo­cus on them. A but­ton pro­vides you with ac­cess to in­fo­graph­ics, rel­e­vant space mis­sions, vi­su­als of a body’s in­ter­nal struc­ture, im­por­tant dates, pho­tos, and the rel­e­vant Wikipedia en­try.

The app of­fers op­tions to switch be­tween an ex­ag­ger­ated view (larger plan­ets that are closer to­gether) or a more re­al­is­ti­cally pro­por­tioned take on the heav­ens. You can also tog­gle vis­ual ef­fects and an am­bi­ent sound­track.

Us­ing the cal­en­dar, you can jump to im­por­tant ce­les­tial dates. Al­ter­na­tively, you can just hit play and muck about with time, run­ning it for­wards and back­wards – at speed, if you feel the need.

As a so­lar sys­tem at your fin­ger­tips, So­lar Walk 2 largely im­presses, but as an up­grade, this version feels more like a step side­ways than for­wards. Space mis­sions, satel­lites, ex­tended so­lar sys­tem ob­jects, and a history of space ex­plo­ration hide be­hind sub­scrip­tion in-app pur­chases.

Like its pre­de­ces­sor, So­lar Walk 2 has a kind of zoom-happy nav­i­ga­tion be­tween ce­les­tial bod­ies that’s some­times choppy and of­ten dizzy­ing. The writ­ing is pep­pered with er­rors; most are gram­mat­i­cal, but the re­sult is an app that feels rushed. Th­ese things don’t stop it be­ing a good app, but it should have been a great one. Craig Grannell

A de­cent buy for new­com­ers look­ing for an ed­u­ca­tional as­tron­omy app, but it’s only a so-so up­grade.

Belt around the so­lar sys­tem, but be pre­pared for lots of zoom­ing ef­fects.

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