iPhone Game Review: SkySmash 1918 Reviewed by JadeDragon
Shoot Em Up games are fun to play and have lots of fans out there. Sadly they seem to be a dying breed in the arcade that's now stuffed with large and loud machines. Thank goodness for Sky Force Reloaded, iFighter and Siberian Strike, we get a taste of the nostalgia on the iPhone and iPod touch. SkySmash 1918 is a straight up shoot em up game that?s set not in World War II but the first Great War in 1918. All the shoot em up elements are here: top down view, 9 long levels with boss fight at the end of each level, and power ups. So put your goggles on, flyboy, you are going to help win the war!
SkySmash 1918 uses historic battles as backdrop of each mission you are going to complete. Battles of Ypres, Battles of Megiddo and Battle of Cambrai are all well known battles in World War I history. Among the 9 battles you fly and fight through, the missions actually vary, which is an intriguing aspect of the gameplay. Instead of just flying through the level and survive the enemy attacks, some levels requires certain percentage of kills of enemy units, other levels require you survivor and kill certain number of enemies and there is a level in which you must escort a general?s plane to its destination. In the escort mission, you can actually shoot down the incoming fire to protect the general?s plane behind you. The varied missions make gameplay seem diverse, however the levels themselves are quite similar.
Like most shoot em up games, SkySmash 1918 has ground enemies and air combat opponents. There are enough types of enemy units to keep you busy, but gameplay isn?t very hectic, like in SkyForce or even Siberian Strike. There are three difficulty levels in the game; the easy and normal levels are quite easy for a veteran of Shoot ?Em Up games, the hard level provides good challenges. There is a boss fight at the end of each level, but they are not varied much at all: it?s either a ground to air tank with two machine guns and a bomb shooter, or a large air plane with three turrets. Beating the bosses is always very easy as there is very little change in patterns and weapons they use. One nice thing about the game is that you don?t have to go back to the first mission to continue. After you finish a mission, you can always either replay the mission or move on to the next.
There are 10 power-ups in SkySmash 1918, and they include gun upgrades, invisibility and different bombs like Bouncing Bomb, Time Warp and Smart Bomb. While the guns on your plane can get continuous upgrades (like from single shooter to double shooter to triple shooter), you an only have one bomb at a time. You must use the one you have in order to pick up a new one. This is not only limiting your ability to use multiple power attacks when your gun just doesn?t cut it, it also takes away the fun of figuring out which bombs or power ups to use in certain situations.
SkySmash 1918 uses the touch control which is very responsive and intuitive to use. For those who care about this: you can control the game with absolute touch (your finger right on top of your plane) and relative touch when you don?t have to put your finger directly above the plane. The game has a separate scoreboard for each difficulty level, but no global scoreboard. There are a couple of bugs in the games, none of which is serious. The game slows down in a couple of spots in later levels, but not in a bad degree and the slow downs passe fast. Also if you don?t quit the game, it won?t let the iPhone go to sleep which can drain your battery and get your iPhone hot.
By just looking at the screen shots, you can see the graphics in SkySmash 1918 look gorgeous. The terrains are very sharp with a good amount of details, and enemy planes and ground units look sharp and stylish.
SkySmash 1918 doesn?t have a lot of background music and sound FX, but what it does have are well done. There is only BMG in the title screen and during a boss fight, but not during the level. Sound FX is realistic yet stylish: the sound of bullets hitting metal, bomber explosion and power-up pick up sound, all sounds cool and fits the theme of the game.
-Very polished graphics -Different types of mission adds interesting aspect to the gameplay -Responsive game control -Good sound FX
-Missions are too easy save the Hard difficulty level -Boss fights not varied enough -Not a lot of enemy units on the ground
If you are a Shoot ?Em Up fan and miss the actions in Raiden or 1945, SkySmash 1918 for the iPhone and iPod touch is a capable substitute. It would have bee more than a substitute had the game provided more hectic gameplay and tougher bosses. But the highly styled graphics and 9 long levels should attract your attention and in the end, it?s a worthy game to play. The developer hints that the introductory price might not last long. So while it?s still $0.99, grab it! You won?t be sorry.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: -5- Very sharp and good looking graphics. Sound: -4- Not a lot of BMG or sound FX, but what?s there ain?t bad. Controls: -4.5- Touch control is responsive and no learning curve. Gameplay: -4- 9 missions are a fun ride, but compared to Raiden or Siberian Strike, gameplay doesn?t offer the intensity or the tough bosses we are used to in this type of games.
Playing Hints and Tips:
-Double tap the plane to drop bombs, use time warp or invisibility power ups.
-In the escort mission, get in front of the general?s plane and shoot any incoming fire. The general?s plane will seek out to get hit if you don?t get rid of the bullets first.