<table> <tr> <td class=headerlogo> <p class=image><a href="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net" target="_parent"><img src="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/logo/hg101logo.png" alt="Logo by MP83"></a></p> </td> <td> <table class=headerright> <tr> <td class=headermenu> <a href="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/alpha.htm" target="_parent">Articles</a> | <a href="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/features.htm" target="_parent">Features</a> | <a href="http://blog.hardcoregaming101.net" target="_parent">Blog</a> | <a href="http://hg101.proboards.com/" target="_parent">Forums</a> | <a href="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/about.htm" target="_parent">About</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hardcore-Gaming-101/109837535712670" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/facebook.png"></a>&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/HG_101"><img src="http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/twitter.png" target="_blank"></a> </td> <td class=searchbox> <form action="http://www.google.com/cse" id="cse-search-box" target="_parent"> <div> <input type="hidden" name="cx" value="partner-pub-5230184257141993:xfg3mydy24k" /> <input type="hidden" name="ie" value="ISO-8859-1" /> <input type="text" name="q" size="30" /> <input type="submit" name="sa" value="Search" /> </div> </form> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.google.com/coop/cse/brand-form=cse-search-box&amp;lang=en"></script> </td> </tr> </table> <table class=headerad> <tr> <td> Game advertisements by <a href="http://www.game-advertising-online.com" target="_blank">Game Advertising Online</a> require iframes. </td> </tr> </table> </td> </tr> </table>

<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

iOS Shooter Index

All the shmups, all the time

by Burkhart von Klitzing

Seawolf Attack - iOS (2009)

Flying from the dusty desert into the depths of the ocean, Infiworks seemingly lost a sizable amount of its naming creativity, hence Seawolf Attack's only alternative name is the boring short form Seawolf. Some of what made Cobra Killer an enjoyable if mindless romp sunk to the bottom of the Mariana Trench as well, namely the frantic speed and the arcade style nature.

Neon Wars also had different levels, though you'd be hard-pressed to realize that or let alone care about it. All levels played the same and it was just about staying alive as long as possible and picking up all kinds of goodies. In Seawolf Attack the focus shifts to reaching a level's end and to clear the screen of all enemies, which unlike Neon Wars is very well possible, since weapons seem to pack more of a punch now and everything moves a lot slower, including enemies, your sub and the stages themselves (which still all play the same, by the way). In addition now every stage culminates in a battle against a boss sub. The inclusion of boss fights usually seems like a great idea, but here they end up being more boring than anything else and they bring the pacing down even further.

Another offender is the placement of the obligatory ad bar, now located at the bottom, conveniently hiding hostile subs, heavily (ab)using this by launching mines you barely see coming beforehand. What's more, the ad is quite close to where you would have your index finger or thumb (depending on the control method) so it's not too unlikely to accidentally click on it. Then there's also a button assigned with turning around the sub to face enemies on the left. While a neat idea in principle, it is too easy to miss the button and it doesn't add a whole lot to the experience anyway. At least the game looks the part with its fitting colors and surprisingly fluent animations. This might sound farfetched, but it is actually somewhat reminiscent of Nazca's beautiful In the Hunt.

Seawolf Attack

Seawolf Attack


Neon Wars - iOS (2012)

Neon Wars starts off nicely. Although the relative touch controls here could use some empty border area of the screen for better maneuvering, they otherwise leave little to be desired. Also, the neon-style visuals with their sharp contrasts and bright colors aren't just pleasing on the eyes and offer a nice variety when compared to other shooters, they also run smoothly at all times and make it easy to distinguish enemies, bullets and the background at any given time. Every 16-bit gamer's favorite shenanigan -namely parallax scrolling featuring a total of four levels-further adds a nice layer (haha) to the graphical presentation. The music fits the visuals as well as the fast action, thanks to rather simplistic, reduced, electronic tunes.

The action also flows well, as you take down loads of choppers, planes, tanks and jeeps. Enemy bullet patterns increase in intensity, eventually approaching danmaku country without ever truly crossing the border outside of boss battles. You'll also regularly find temporary weapon upgrades to deal with the increasing hazards and a combo meter is kept alive by defeating enemies in close succession, similar to the Donpachi series. An important, although sometimes overlooked aspect that Neon Wars gets right is the feedback for hitting enemies. You're constantly destroying enemy war crafts and it simply feels good. Even when you're not plowing through enemy forces, but rather need to stay low and look for a weakness in the bullet patterns to thin out the enemy lines in time, the game provides some serious fun.

A big letdown, however, is the huge hitbox. The entirety of your craft can be hit and it will be. Often so. At least you're given a pretty lengthy life bar, which would be a great combination to alleviate the frustration often associated with the genre, it doesn't quite work out here. In the beginning, this system only means that you can plow through enemy territory relatively recklessly, whereas later on it gets nigh impossible to avoid damage in most situations, so you'll sit there, watching your life bar drain constantly. That's where the in-app shop comes into play. Neon Wars is yet another free2play shooter, asking you to sink real money into in-game currency used for upgrades, new stages and especially HEAPS of additional crafts ranking way higher in the food chain than your standard jet. Unless you're willing to buy any of those, you won't be getting anywhere in Neon Wars. Also, in all honesty, while it's definitely fun for a while, the overall lack of variety already becomes obvious 5 to 10 minutes into the game even without spending money on it, so it's hardly worth dusting off your credit card for it.

Neon Wars

Neon Wars


Falcon Raider - iOS (2011)

Falcon Raider feels an awful lot like yet another Infiworks product, if at least like one of their better ones. You're piloting your jet through ten visually varied missions set in a desert, a forest, icy planes, the ocean and open space among others, shooting everything from foot soldiers, tanks and ships to asteroids. The whole game has a peculiar, amateurish nature to it, with inexplicable loading times in every menu, half-heartedly integrated manga characters, and overall neat, but obviously non-professionally drawn visuals. Musically, Falcon Raider does a better job, providing generally fitting and unobtrusive tunes for each stage.

Instead of the more common touch controls, you're given a virtual stick for movement and a button for shooting. This shouldn't cause any troubles most of the time, though occasionally, the stick doesn't react to your input, if you had let go of it before. In these instances you need to tap the stick again and again until you finally get it to work again.

In the beginning, Falcon Raider provides some uncomplicated fun, as you dodge and kill varied enemies, catch parachuting crates for health refills and weapon upgrades, and even get to battle big bosses at the end of each stage. Soon after, the fun starts to wear thinner, though. Your weapons are soon powerful enough to tear apart most opposition with ease, resulting in a generally overly easy game. The level design is content with merely throwing enemies at you, that all behave the same for the most part, and often you'll find yourself not even facing any foes, either because there simply are none, or because you already dispose of them before they can even come onscreen. Bosses don't put up much more of a fight, either. They only take more punishment before going down and they dish out more damage per hit, without being much of a threat anyways. The game also isn't free of bugs and glitches. Some foes, for example, are flying too high for you to hit them, unless you pick up enough upgrades, and the third stage's boss suddenly flew up and out of the screen, rendering any further progress impossible.

Falcon Raider

Falcon Raider


Apache Overkill - iOS / Flash (2011)

Apache Overkill perfectly fits into this line of uninspired and amateurish Infiworks and Infiworks-esque games, that while not terribly bad, are just mediocre and ultimately forgettable. Here, the 99 stages are randomly created on the fly, using one of four different graphics sets for the backgrounds. You'll come across deserts, ice fields and surprisingly pretty jungles and oceans, but the enemies remain mostly the same. You'll always face the same jets, choppers and strange flying devices manned by a single soldier, along with a few slightly varying ground targets such as civilan huts, turrets or infantry. Even the bosses are recycled for every single level, pitting you against the underbelly of a large plane about halfway in, and against a chopper at the end.

Even if there was more variety to look forward to, the game would still suffer from being too easy, and thus rendering its weapon system obsolete. By standard, your chopper is controlled via reliable touch controls, shooting lasers and dropping bombs. Four buttons in the lower right corner each trigger a different special weapon, which all come in pretty limited quantities. The big laser beam shoots upfront, the bigger bombs are dropped straight down, the nuke serves as a smart bomb and the missile flies straight ahead. Most of these are too hard to properly aim with, and all of them are simply pointless, except for if you want to shorten the often boring boss fights.

Apache Overkill isn't broken in any way, and it even gets the first impression quite right, thanks to tight controls, commendable visuals and lots of quick, cheap kills and explosions, but once you've seen the same bosses twice or thrice, the fun quickly starts to wear off, leaving no reason to play this, when there are so many better options available. Should you still be intrigued (I can't think of a reason to be, but oh well), go ahead and play it for free here, although the iPhone's lack of Flash compatibility obviously prevents you from trying it on your phone.

Apache Overkill

Apache Overkill


Room War Deluxe - iOS (2011)

Infiworks doesn't get tired of creating new shooters. It's just sad to see them improving only so little over time, even getting worse in some regards.

The background visuals in Room War are without a doubt the best Infiworks have delivered so far. The three stages -which isn't a whole lot, to be honest -take place in a living room, a bathroom and a kitchen or -quoting the App Store description -in „Crazy food! Crazy room! Crazy bathroom!- We all know about those crazy, crazy rooms, slowly taking over the world, but they have rarely looked this cute. Different layers of brightly colored furniture and accessories make good use of parallax scrolling and both your crafts (choose between three) and the enemies at first seem to fit in just nicely until you realize that the game is short on animations and variety.

The living room is inhabited by only three different enemy types: Flapping books, bouncing cell phones and shooting umbrellas. As if the visual monotony this brings with it wasn't enough, your opponents always appear in the same formations, allowing you to dodge all books by staying in the lower left and all cell phones in the upper right. Later stages reduce the amount of different enemies even further and I'm still awaiting an explanation as to why the bathroom has you shooting down toy planes. Bosses spice things up a notch, but not nearly enough. The first stage's pillow for example can't take more than one of your regularly replenishing smart bombs and the second stage's shower head has no clearly discernible hitbox, causing many a shot to pass right through it before you decide to shoot lower (a lot).

As opposed to the rest of the game, the relative touch controls leave nothing to be desired and if you feel the desire to try out Room War for whatever reason, you are in luck. The lite version, titled Room War as opposed to Room War Deluxe, contains everything the full game does, being fincanced through a unoffensive ad bar at the bottom of the screen.

Room War Deluxe

Room War Deluxe


<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

iOS Shooter Index

All the shmups, all the time

Back to the index