Retro Shooter Gem Gem Munchies Review

Retro Shooter Gem Gem Munchies Review

May 16, 2014

Retro Shooter Gem Gem Munchies is a fun, retro-feeling mouthful.

The game premise is as simple as it gets; it takes a leaf out of the the book of arcade games of years past, and pits a shooter against shooting opponents. It’s a 2D playing area in this one, with the protagonist object at the bottom (forescreen) and the enemy craft mostly in the air above at the top of the screen. The protagonist object can move left and right, and can shoot, and these actions are accomplished via the virtual controls at the very bottom of the game.

The object of the game, obviously, is to stay alive as long as possible while accumulating as many points as possible; the former done my avoiding the “dropping” weaponry from above, and the latter by blasting the enemy out of the sky and collecting freed goodies on the ground. The game starts out with a bang, allowing a second or two ret1for the player to catch a breath, and then it gets busy. the key is the sequencing of the fire; crafts come from both sides, and lay down fire that is purposefully hard to avoid; it forces the player to keep an eye on all facets of the game, and to dart back and forth to stay alive.

It’s not the easiest game, but being tough to conquer works here, as it can be fun to chase high scores. Dexterity is a true advantage, because quick moves are necessary to be successful at the dual goals.

Retro Shooter completes the old school adventure by presenting itself clothed old school graphics complete with enjoyably washed colors and arcade-y sounds to match.

Controller support would be nice: this game practically begs for it. Still, as-is, it’s a great game with plenty of play available.

Star Champion Review

Star Champion Review

Apr 30, 2014

Star Champion is old school. 2D, pixel art, insert coin, AWESOME old school.

The game wears the retro tag well. Looks-wise, it uses the simplest of colors and animations on a black background to convey the desired persona of an old-school arcade classic. The game uses up the entire screen, and the blots of color are differentiated to show power-ups and enemy craft.

Actual gameplay boils down to a war of attrition. Using a choice of craft with different attributes (single shooters, double shooters, side shooters, rapid fire, etc.), there is a spread virtual dual stick control method that manages the flight of the spacecraft and shooting at enemy ships; there is a small direction joystick to the left and a shooting button to the right. The enemy ships appear randomly with a simple warning, and then commencestar1 to fire on our protagonist ship. The basic concept is to avoid enemy fire and destroy as many ships as possible, to make it easy to monitor the health of the ship, there is a percentage health gauge at the bottom.

To add to the fun factor, there are few elements that come to bear. One is the transitive nature of the barriers of the playing area; they work like the portals in Pac-man. When our craft goes “out” the left side of the playing area, it seamlessly reappears on the right; similarly, if it goes through the top, the spacecraft pops out a the bottom, and vice versa. This creates strategic opportunities to flip on attacking ships. Another elements are the power-ups, which an arcade game is useless without. There’s stuff like limited helpers like better weaponry to take ships down with. Staying alive and destroying the enemy yields points.

I am not a fan of the controls, even though there is a little bit of choice available. I think the joystick could be a bit more intuitive. A better reward system would probably work too.

Whines aside, it is a pleasant game that is hard not to enjoy, even if one didn’t grow up in the arcade rooms of the 80s.

Tilt Arena Review

Tilt Arena Review

Jun 11, 2013

Tilt Arena is a classic type of game for a modern type of gamer.

If the game brings back memories if the iconic arcade shooter Geometry Wars, don’t feel alarmed; that’s a good thing, and the developer isn’t ashamed of the potential mental connection.

The gameplay is fairly simple; the goal is to stay alive. It’s set up in a rectangular grid, with the player in control of a white trapezoid spacecraft. Armed with perpetually shooting guns, I had to avoid the randomly appearing enemy spacecraft that were oh so eager to exhibit their contact-based lethality. Darting around and dodging them tilt1helped to a small degree, but directing the guns at them destroys them and earns valuable points.

I think it is the game engine that transforms this to a real gem. The different enemy spacecraft are color-coded based on ability. The first waves are composed of relatively easy purple happy-go-lucky chums that mostly bounce around and take up space. Eventually, other colors make an appearance, each with seemingly more intelligent and aggressive mindsets, till speedy jokers that are really gunning for the trapezoid appear. Fast. Sometimes, it looked like they are working in pairs to ensnare me.

Good games should make the player paranoid…

The waves increase in intensity the longer the white ship stays alive, and to make my job of wave defense easier, there is a yellow-orangish box of goodies that also appears randomly in the playing grid. When contact is made with this box, the defending ship gets a pretty decent weapons upgrade. This is especially useful , especially since the white craft only gets three lives per run.

The game is a simple-looking affair, and I say that as high praise. The arcade-sryle graphical interface is beautifully complemented by the reject use of color and retro sounding music. I liked the options included, especially with regards to using touch or tilting as the means of control.

Tilt Arena proves that old is the new new, and for that, we can be grateful.

Alien Defense 101 Review

Alien Defense 101 Review

Sep 29, 2011

The Earth is under attack from hundreds of ships, giant saucers, meteor showers and… exploding jellyfish? Well, yeah, exploding jellyfish! Actually, if you can get past the idea that humanity’s last hope is a solo rookie on his first day of training, then I guess exploding jellyfish won’t be too much of a stretch for you, will it? Nevertheless, there are exploding jellyfish in Alien Defense 101, and they are just one of the many strange aliens you will encounter.

As far as space shooters go, Alien Defense 101 does it’s best to cover all the basics. Waves of aliens descending from the top of the screen in patterns, power-ups, battles with tough foes and plenty of chances to die in a flaming wreck. But then it tries to experiment with some new ideas in how to play a space shooter.

One experimental idea is to swap out the usual control interface layout for a slider control that feels more like a mousepad than a d-pad, giving you absolute movement across the entire range of the field. It actually makes sense to use a slider, seeing as how the game displays in landscape view and widens the field beyond the edges of the screen. With a quick swipe, you can go edge-to-edge and quickly position yourself to face incoming enemies.

Another idea is how the game displays, using a pseudo-3D view, almost curving the screen at the edges and doing some other tricks with the background to give you more of a feeling of depth. It’s hard to describe, but it does give Alien Defense 101 a unique way of displaying the action.

Being a space shooter, the gameplay is your usual fare. As I mentioned earlier, waves of aliens descend to attack you — including exploding jellyfish — and you must do your best to dispatch them with the single life you’re given. The game plays out in stages with a consistent health meter, meaning that you don’t recharge at the beginning of each stage. Annoyingly, however, your weapons revert back to stock, leaving you just a little more helpless each time. Your best hope is to catch a health power-up or you won’t last very long. Speaking of weapons, while the game is free, you can purchase a weapon upgrade pack in-game for US$1.99, giving you additional weapons to help you in your battle.

After a certain number of stages, you unlock the next level so that you don’t have to start completely from scratch. You also get a little more of the story, as told to you by Captain Cody who, aggravatingly, shows up via text and a small image right in the middle of the screen. The game doesn’t even stop so that you can read his ramblings, either, it just keeps going while you crash into multiple oncoming ships.

Alien Defense 101 is an odd space shooter, maintaining a good level of fun with some unusual ideas thrown in. However, it’s hindered by terrible music, simplistic graphics that could use a lot of polish and average gameplay.

A Space Shooter For Free Review

A Space Shooter For Free Review

Sep 23, 2011

From the strange and unusual intro movie, I get the impression that Commander P. Jefferson is kind of a jerk. I also get the impression that that’s exactly the impression I’m supposed to get. And is Commander supposed to be his rank or his first name? Ambiguous personality and naming quirks aside, one thing we can be sure of is that Commander P. Jefferson hates aliens, but he loves shooting them in the face. And cursing. He’s really into cursing.

With a name like A Space Shooter For Free, it would be perfectly acceptable to expect this to be a real-time strategy game with puzzle elements. However, that’s not what it is. Surprisingly, A Space Shooter For Free is a space shooter that is, get this, free. Ah, but the ironic twist is that while the game is free, you’re only getting part of it. The full game is a US$0.99 add-on that you purchase in-game. And to be brutally honest, you’re going to want to purchase it if you hope to eke out more than about an hour or so worth of play time. The full game includes a survival mode, more levels, more bosses, more weapons and, well, more.

Featuring some down-home, old school space shootin’, you can expect quite a challenge ahead of you. Enemies come from every direction and have a variety of attacks. Ships will form lines around you, trapping you in as they bombard you with weapons’ fire. You’ll have to avoid laser traps, dodge kamikazes, and blast asteroids as they swarm and fill your screen. The game features non-linear progression, meaning you can jump into any level you wish, but you should really just stick with the levels you can handle until you can purchase weapon and ship upgrades. I found that, until I had collected enough fragments to spend on upgrades, some levels were just way too hard. Do the words “bullet hell” mean anything to you?

The controls are a little odd. Don’t go looking for a directional pad or a “fire” button because you won’t find them. You control your ship by touching the screen and dragging the ship to where you want it to go, to any point on the screen. The ship fires automatically, but it only fires while you are touching the screen.

While this control scheme seems like a natural fit for a touch-based device and gives your ship a level of agility you couldn’t get from a directional pad, call me old fashioned, but I miss the d-pad. Your mileage may vary.

What I got from A Space Shooter For Free was a fun, visually pleasing arcade shooter that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The jokes can be half-baked at times, becoming increasingly worse the more you hear them, but it means well. Thankfully, the gameplay is there to back it up with hundreds of aliens to shoot, genuinely tough bosses to fight and cool upgrades to purchase.