iPhone Game Review: Critical Wave
When will we finally learn? Creating a self-aware super intelligent cybernetic entity always results in one thing, EVIL INCARNATE! How long can you keep Infecto in check or, more importantly, how many of his taunts will you be able to stomach in between levels before you snap?
This is yet another dual stick shooter that, while not really re-inventing the wheel, does it with such flair and style it will surely make your head spin. Using your left thumb to move your ship and your right thumb to direct your fire (as well as changing weapons), you?re ready to blast endless waves of baddies. You?ll be fighting abstract shapes, detailed little space ships, and even ?laser toting space snakes? in preparation for your guaranteed showdown with Infecto. Infecto can?t be bothered to just meet you at the start of the level, heck, he?s a busy cybernetic incarnation of evil doing whatever it is that such entities do. So each wave starts with you blasting a bunch of little grunts until you finally get Infecto?s attention and he comes by to personally see to your destruction.
In the midst of fighting the low level grunts in preparation for Infecto?s arrival you?ll also meet a number of mini-bosses. Beating these guys, while not actually bringing about Infecto any quicker, are a great source of points and upgrade credits. What the heck are upgrade credits? These red dot collectibles will, once enough are gathered, will allow you to upgrade one of your ship?s systems (vulcan, laser. shockwave, special, and escalation). Once you?ve tricked Infecto to show up, you?ll blast off all of his various weapon systems and then blow him up directly and thereby ending the wave. The catch to all this being that by killing Infecto you?re only making him angry as he?ll be right back to face you again with an even more elaborate space station of destruction (with even more turrets and nasty weapons to send you into your own personal Bullet Hell).
You?ll have three ships to wage this battle with the ability to earn more as you prove your proficiency (but don?t expect many). Your ship has a continuously regenerating shield surrounding itself, if something hits your ship it will leave a gap in your shield. You?d then best carefully maneuver yourself to not let further hits into that hole or it?s BOOM TIME. Since you?ll only see a small part of the playfield on your screen at any point in time, the game is nice enough to put little tags along the border letting you know exactly where the various baddies and bosses are in relation to you (you can even ?anti-pinch? the screen to zoom out and get a larger picture of the action). While the arena has definite borders, you?re free to just move through them and appear on the other side of the arena. The only catch to this warping, however, is that it will attract a unique type of enemy that only appears after you?ve made such a jump (the game?s own ?Border Patrol?).
Graphics & Sound
The graphics in this game are good freaky fun. The graphical style is bright abstract 2D vector graphics with cell shading, if that makes any sense. Just checkout the screenshots and video to see what I?m talking about for yourself.
The sounds have a cool almost retro feel with a driving techno beat in the background to fit this hectic abstract rave of a dual stick shooter.
-This game oozes style! From the Main Menu to the Game Over Screen, the game delivers a consistent freaky psychedelic rave of a shooter. I particularly love the taunting texts Infecto sends you in between waves.
-If you remove your fingers from the controls the game will automatically pause for you! It?s such an obvious concept it hurts as it is painfully clear there is NO POINT in the game you would intentionally leave your hands from the controls so you must need a break from the action if you do.
-The ship customization via upgrades is a fun twist. There is no ?right path? to the customization and while some systems allow more upgrades than others, all upgrades are at the exact same cost (going from Laser 11 to 12 is the same as stepping from Special 1 to 2). So when you?ve earned the right to upgrade it can be any of the ship?s systems as long as there are still upgrades left to that component.
-Not only does the game have online ranking, but if you?re playing while connected to the Interwebs, you?ll see your exact ranking at that point with your current score. Amaze yourself as you see your ranking climb while you play!
-While I?m finding it hard to fault this game, I guess the game?s abstractness could be a bit of a turn off as it isn?t clear why you?re fighting and there is no way to win, just a matter, like most survival games, a matter of seeing how high up the online or local ranking you can make it.
Like fun intense abstract dual stick shooters in the vein of Geometry Wars? Then get your butt over to the AppStore and click buy immediately.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: -5- 2D vector cell shading? I don?t know what it is but I like it!
Sound: -4- The sound effects and techno beat fit the game perfectly.
Controls: -4- The controls are pretty intuitive and work great for a dual stick shooter although some of the secondary functions like the double tap for shockwave and button for weapon switching might take some practice.
Gameplay: -5- There is no denying that this might truly be the current king of dual stick shooters!
Playing Hints and Tips:
-Keep a move on as the game is chock full of guided weapons and ships just looking to bump into you.
-Learn the power of your various weapon systems (the vulcan is great to take out grunts while the laser is better suited for use against the slower moving boss types).
-For even more and better hints than these, try hanging out on the Game Over screen and the game will spout all sorts of fun little gameplay hints at the bottom of the screen.
Developer: Grannies Games
Release Date: February 22nd, 2010
Version: 1.1 (OS 3.0 Tested)
Genre: Dual Stick Shooter
File Size: 8.4 MB
Buy Game: iTunes App Store
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