Solar Walk 2
An App Store star returns, but does it better its forebear?
£2.29 Developer Vito Technology, vitotechnology.com 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.