The quirky and cute robot genre has been around for decades. Since the 1980s, when movies featuring robots exploded, and even recently with Disney film "WALL-E" touting the insurmountable spirit of a trash-removing robot, they have captured the imagination of humans everywhere. Return to Earth harnesses that fascination and creates an intriguing, occasionally frustrating game full of challenges and rewards, all with a stubborn little robot at its core.
The concept of the game is simple. Get your robot home from another planet. Levels are set up very similarly to other iOS games. There are dozens of micro levels that take only 20 seconds to complete but usually require multiple attempts. In each level there are three gears that each award one star. If you collect all three gears, you get a perfect score for the level. However, you only need to snag one gear and reach the exit gate for the level to progress. Your robot can cling to any surface, and you must traverse the walls, ceilings, and floors of the ship you are in to reach the gate. There are some tricks, of course, such as falling from high ledges to flip gravity, but all things considered, it is very simple.
With the exception of a handful of frustrating design choices, such as the way you move your robot and the responsiveness in some levels, Return to Earth is a fun and ultimately unique puzzler that lasts a good, long time. Additional planets cost money after your initial install, but if you reach the end of the first planet and want more, it's quite likely worth it to go for the upgrade. If you are looking for the next fun, time-sucking game to play on the train or bus, this very well may be it.