Lunar Lander Beyond - A Cosmic Odyssey Reimagined

"Lunar Lander Beyond" emerges as a revitalization of Atari's iconic Lunar Lander franchise, reimagined by Dreams Uncorporated in an effort to bring the game back to fans as well as new audiences.

Rooted in the vestiges of gaming history, the lunar lander genre traces its lineage back to Atari's arcade title, "Lunar Lander," released in 1979. "Lunar Lander Beyond" pays homage to its retro roots while embracing modern sensibilities. With a user interface reminiscent of vintage computer systems and classic controls mirroring the thruster mechanics of its predecessor, the game aims to blend nostalgic elements with more contemporary gameplay mechanics.

The interstellar adventure propels players into the role of a newly appointed captain of the Pegasus corporation. What begins as routine landing missions swiftly unravels into a galaxy-spanning escapade fraught with mystery and danger. Set against the backdrop of a universe thrown into disarray by enigmatic portals, players navigate through a tangled tale of conspiracy and intrigue across diverse planets and moons.

Your trusty lander, ready to go

What is it?

The classic
The original 1979 Lunar Lander is a single-player game where the player navigates a lunar landing module onto the Moon's surface using black and white vector graphics. 

They control the module's orientation and thrusters to land safely on jagged terrain with limited fuel. Successful landings award points based on softness and difficulty, while crashes earn fewer points. 

The game offered four difficulty levels, adjusting landing areas and module controls, with fuel management crucial for continued play. There were no time limits; instead, inserting coins provides more fuel for indefinite gameplay, with fuel levels adjustable by the operator.

"Lunar Lander Beyond" transcends its arcade origins, by keeping the original core concept and grow it into an action-adventure odyssey set amidst the cosmic expanse far beyond the moon. You will undertake 30 missions across five moons and planets operating a fleet of landers and managing a large crew of pilots each with their own special abilities and talents.  Navigating through treacherous terrain across diverse celestial bodies, players embark on a journey laced with conspiratorial undertones and unforeseen challenges where picking the right, ship and talent will be crucial to their success.


The gameplay of "Lunar Lander Beyond" takes its classic arcade heritage and expands it by adding more ships, abilities, pilots and skills. The game starts very similar to what you would expect lunar lander to be like, a floaty ship with fuel hungry thrusters and gravity as your worst enemy.  featuring a level-by-level structure that progressively ramps up in difficulty.  

Quickly each passing mission the game presents players with unique objectives to keep variation in the gameplay. From rescuing stranded pilots to executing daring escapes amidst natural disasters you will face some tense moments and need your wits and reflexes to make it through. The inclusion of multiple difficulty levels, including the challenging "Insane" mode with pilot permadeath, ensures a gripping experience for players of all skill levels as well. 

While you pass through the storyline you will unlock new ships and each ship can be equipped with unique abilities to improve its chances of survival. There is the original style ship, with its floaty controls and sluggish handling that clearly would benefit well from the stabilization perk. Then there are ships that steer better but have lower top speed making it easy to navigate a maze but hard to outrun hazards that are chasing you. Others are all about speed, and you will curse your screen when it once again flies right by just to explode off screen. 

Once unlocked, each of these ships can be chosen whenever you want allowing different ways to clear the various levels. Combine them with the right pilot and you can stop certain negative traits your ship or its abilities might have. There is a ton to experiment with here and allow you some trial and error to figure out the best, or your favorite combos.

Yes indeed you will see pink elephants sometimes space

Soon after you get through a few levels you are introduced to another game mechanic. 

Stress management

As you fly missions through perilous environments, you will likely hit a wall, land too hard or be shot by the planet's defenses. This causes "stress" for the pilots. Get enough stress during a mission and you start to have blurry vision and crazy hallucinations. such as pink elephants, that seem actually dangerous. special pills, that float in space apparently, can bring the crazy down during the mission so pick them up as fast as you can, but it will not save your pilot completely. At some point they will need a little R&R.

Keep your pilots healthy.

In between the missions you can look at the pilot's overall status and if they are too stressed, they need some therapy or medicine to stay operational. Some of these take some time, making you have to rely on other pilots int he meanwhile. And that might mean you have to say goodbye to them for a little while and with that miss on their unique skillset. Some of those skills mean you use no or less fuel when stabilizing, re-gen your ship or provide ship resiliency.  Lucky one of the pilots is immune to stress, I used her a LOT!  Who needs the stress of stress? But of course, this meant I had to give up some other favorite skills such as not using fuel for the stabilizer. 

All these new features add a ton of replay value to what is essentially a basic concept of a game and gives it an exciting layer, requiring you to manage various parts of it in order to survive till the end. Each mission will score you will bronze, silver, gold based on your score, and this sets the challenge to come back and maybe do better next time. 

getting some real robotech vibes here


Unlike its arcade predecessor, "Lunar Lander Beyond" introduces a narrative layer to the gameplay experience. Players are immersed in a larger universe teeming with environmental storytelling and occasional cinematic interludes that connect the different abilities and gameplay mechanics introduced to the game. The addition of new mechanics, such as the pilot's stress level, adds some depth to the narrative by influencing gameplay dynamics and introducing unpredictable elements that are meant keep players on their toes. 

The tough crew of the Pegasus vessel

The game just looks good too, with a distinct art style it aims to bring a large universe with backstory to life. Spanning six distinct locales within the cosmic tapestry. Each celestial body presents a unique look and fell to the experience. The art style is unique, full of color and a spaceflight away from the vector graphics of back in the day.

It is the well-defined Animesque western art style animation that in some ways hurts the games presentation, simply because I wanted more of it. With an animated opening and short animated segments at each new planet or ship discovery, it was a bit of a letdown to be offered mostly static images during the rest of the games cutscenes. The art style just begs for full animation. The conversations are already fully voiced, and adding animation could have lifted it closer to the dramatic adventure they were aiming for.  

I will mention here that there are some issues with the story exposition during gameplay. During some missions you can get interrupted by someone informing of an something obvious that just happened such as rising lava or security systems that went online that either pauses your game or break the flow block your view with a large dialog box. Not helpful when you try to outrun a hazard in a hurry. 

in space, everything wants to kill you

The sound design, in game music and voice acting brings style to Lunar Lander and fits well with the games visual design. Thrusters peacefully hiss and puff while the music delivers deep electronic beats that can help you get in "zone" as you steer your ship across the treacherous landscape. Lunar Lander: Beyond has actual voice acting to deliver the story to the player. The performance of the various characters did sometimes fall a little flat for me and had a bit of a wooden performance. But overall, it did a decent enough job to keep me interested and I still appreciate the inclusion of voice acting in games and these were real voice actors not   A.I and that is commendable as it is easy to go the cheap route in this day and age. 

Final Thoughts

"Lunar Lander Beyond" brings a lot of change in an effort to find a place next to its classic gaming granddaddy. Dreams Uncorporated took a game that is steeped in nostalgia and revered by purists and reinvigorated the concept for a contemporary audience. With all the changes offering abilities, different ships, pilots and stress, there is a light management strategy to Lunar Lander, which gives it a little pep. The game offers a short (6-8 hour) story adventure, however that comes with a lot of replay value where players can try to beat records on each level and max out all the unlockable, and abilities.  

Despite all these additions the heart of the game still has enough moments that make it feel like a Lunar Lander game, that not only beckons new players but also does enough to keep those that love the original close to heart. 

The game can be tough, frustrating even, but the moments where I overcame those challenges or set a new personal record felt as good as ever. But I'd be a crashed lunar lander if that stabilizer is not a critical tool to heavily lean on as you are learning how to play the game.

 Overall, I can say with certainty that whether you are a devotee of the original or a new to the genre, "Lunar Lander Beyond" offers a logical evolution of the game type and is a fun time with adventure and discovery. If you are ready to go beyond the moon landings and shoot for the stars, strap in, ignite your thrusters, and prepare to embark on a voyage across the astral expanse.

* GeeksVsGeeks is part of the Atari Creator team as of April 2024. The game was donated by Atari without any demands or stipulations. 

Title:    Lunar Lander Beyond 
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Dreams Uncorporated 
PlatformPC (Steam and Epic), Switch, PS4,  PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series              X|S, Atari VCS
Release Date: 23th April 2024
Price: $29.99

About the writer: DadGeek (Rob) is the co-founder of GeeksVsGeeks. He is a product of the eighties and never let go of his geek interest and hobbies no matter how often someone told him to stop. His love for gaming and all things geeks has been part of his parenting style and permeates throughout the whole family. A family of Geeks vs Geeks 


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