iPhone Game Review: Interception
Asteroids meets Missile Command in this vector graphic arcade game. Avert global disaster by protecting our planet from asteroids, aliens, and comets raining down from the sky. Interception faithfully recreates an awesome retro experience, but don't let the simple graphics fool you. While the appearance may be simple, this game is challenging from the get go.
The game is very straightforward to play. Once the game loads, press "Tap to Play" and you are given a choice between two different difficulty levels - Normal and Master. In addition, select "Option" to change music and sound effects volume or to view some basic game statistics.
The game includes 100 levels, boss battles, and bonus rounds along with the basics of trying to defend the planet. You will have 3 cities at the beginning of each level to launch your missiles. If one or two get destroyed, that's okay, they'll be rebuilt again; however, if you lose all 3 cities the game ends.
The game begins once you select a difficulty level. One thing that is really nice is that each round is very short, 20 to 30 seconds. As you go up in level this means that the action gets very intense, very quickly.
At the bottom of the screen are your three cities. To launch a missile at the incoming asteroids, simply tap the screen and you'll see the nearest city launch it. You will need to judge your target point based on the asteroids path and the speed of missiles; this means you will wind up leading your targets.
In between levels you are sent to an Upgrades screen. You earn funds from destroying asteroids and enemies and spend them here to improve the strength of your missiles, refill your ammunition or purchase shields. To select an upgrade, just click on the bars next to your upgrade. There are 8 possible upgrade levels for Strength and Ammunition. Once you select an upgrade, there is no way to change your mind so be careful.
Ammunition is one thing that can literally kill you. You earn money from killing enemies, but by using ammunition you will have to spend your hard-earned funds on purchasing more ammunition instead of upgrading your missiles. Because of this it is imperative that you make every shot count and try to hit multiple objects at one time to receive score multipliers. If you fill the sky with random missiles, your game will not last very long.
There are also bonus levels where you have unlimited ammo and can earn a substantial amount of money. This is the one time you can and should fill the sky with missiles. At level 25, you face your first boss. This is as far as I have gotten in the game and I was unable to figure out exactly how to beat him.
If you like vector graphics, this game has done a wonderful job with emulating that style. There are lots of cool particle effects and explosions. I really like the way the asteroids break apart into individual lines. The game is visually very nice.
Cool explosions, missile launches, impacts, mechanical voiceovers, and a cool retro soundtrack really add a lot to the overall experience of the game. The game's effects, voiceovers, and music sound really nice over my iPhone's external speakers, but for a real treat, you'll want to use a nice pair of headphones.
-awesome retro graphics - explosions and particle effects galore
-excellent sound effects, background music, and mechanical voice overs - all are well done
-easy to play - just tap to launch missiles and they detonate upon impact or where you tapped whichever comes first
-the game does not record your highest score or level achieved - I'd really like to see that displayed as it would add to the replayability
-once you start a game there is no way to pause it or continue a game in progress besides using the Home button to quit and restarting the game from the desktop - there really needs to be a pause button and a resume a game in progress available
-once you select an upgrade, there is no way to change your mind and deselect it - if you upgrade your guns when you forgot you needed to buy more ammo you are out of luck
-the constant need to purchase more ammunition can bring a lot of frustration - I would like to see an "Easy" difficulty mode where you get more ammunition per purchase; otherwise, casual users could find this game annoyingly frustrating
Overall, Interception is a beautifully rendered, awesome sounding retro experience. The vector graphics look great and the sounds are nicely immersive. I really enjoyed these aspects of the game. The devs did a great job on this.
Unfortunately, I found the gameplay to be very frustrating. I only reached level 25 once while my average attempts gets me into the early teens. I found myself being bled dry by constant ammo purchasing after being very conservative with my shots and trying very hard to kill more than one foe with single shot. Adding an Easy difficulty with more generous ammo allotments would be very welcome. The lack of a pause and resume without hard quitting the game is very unintuitive to use as well.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: -5- lots of retro goodness here, vector graphics and particle effects galore
Sound: -5- use headphones to get the full effect, love the voiceovers, sound effects and music
Controls: -5- tap to shoot, easy as that
Gameplay: -3.5- can be very frustrating, you are constantly buying ammo and it is hard to save up for weapons upgrades, no pause/resume built in
Playing Hints and Tips:
-Make every shot count and try to take out multiple objects at once to receive score multipliers.
-Lead your targets.
-Take out everything you can on Bonus Rounds to maximize your money.
Developer: Fireball Studios
Release Date: September 18, 2009
Buy Game: iTunes App Store
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