Find Your Way Home in ‘Lunar Landing’

Reading Time: 4 minutes
Lunar Landing Level 25
Starting to play Level 25. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Get your shuttle back to the mothership with the help of your trusty helper bots in Lunar Landing, a clever puzzle game from Thinkfun. GeekMom Caitlin mentioned Lunar Landing in April as a great way to cure boredom. Here’s a closer look at how it works!

At a glance: Lunar Landing is a single-player puzzle game for ages 8 and up, and retails for $14.99. It’s available in stores, from Amazon, and directly from Thinkfun.

Lunar Landing components
Lunar Landing components. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Components

  • 1 Landing Grid box
  • 6 Explorers (1 Shuttle, 5 Helper Bots)
  • 40 Challenge cards
Lunar Landing box
Everything fits nicely inside the base. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The landing grid is a plastic 5×5 grid with small square pegs, and also forms the lid of the box, which stores the explorers and cards. There’s also a hole underneath the cards storage space so that you can poke the cards up from the bottom rather than having to get your fingers around them or dump them out.

The challenge cards show the puzzle on one side, and a solution on the back. There are four difficulty levels, from Beginner to Expert, with 10 levels in each. There’s also a small instruction booklet (in five languages!) tucked in with the cards.

Lunar Landing explorers
The explorers are a shuttle and five helper bots. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The explorers are little plastic figurines that fit onto the pegs; they’re different colors and each has a unique shape, looking like robots from old sci-fi movies. The shuttle figurine looks like a skinny UFO, with a clear bubble on top and a person inside.

All in all, really nice components, as you’d expect from Thinkfun.

How to play

The goal for each puzzle is to get the shuttle to the Emergency Entry Port, which is at the center of the landing grid (marked in red).

Lunar Landing level 12
Set up for Level 12. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Pick a puzzle card, and set up the explorers as shown on the card. To move an explorer (either shuttle or helper bot), you move it in a straight line in any direction until it runs into another explorer, and then it stops. The explorers only stop if they reach another explorer, so they’re only allowed to move in a direction if there is another explorer there. You must get the red shuttle to the center space to win.

Daughter playing Lunar Landing
My daughter tries her hand at Lunar Landing. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The Verdict

Lunar Landing is a fun logic game that reminds me a little of Sokoban, where you push boxes around and try to get them to particular locations. But in this case, instead of having to get past walls and work around corners, the trick is that if you don’t have a helper bot to stop you, you’ll fly off into empty space.

Figuring out how to get the bots into position so that the shuttle can arrive safely in the center of the grid gets progressively harder over the 40 levels. Since you can only move explorers toward other explorers, they have a tendency to clump together—and if you don’t have any that are separate, then you can’t move anything else.

My 10-year-old especially loves puzzle games and she spent a lot of time working her way through the puzzles. I breezed through about 20 levels or so myself before starting to get stuck. If you need hints, you’ll probably want to ask a friend. The solutions show which robots to move and what directions to move them, but usually I just wanted to know the next single step without looking at the entire solution.

And even though the puzzles are designed for ages 8 and up, the little robots make fantastic toys, so my 4-year-old also enjoyed playing with the robots and moving them around. She could set up for a puzzle, but she didn’t always understand the way the explorers are supposed to move.

If you or your kids enjoy logic puzzles, I highly recommend Lunar Landing. The puzzles will challenge you, and the self-contained box makes it nice for traveling!

Disclosure: Review sample provided by Thinkfun.

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