iPad Game Review: Space Tripper Reviewed by Reviewed by Adegoke Adeyemo
Finally!!! That's the first word that came to mind when Space Tripper was released at long last on iTunes by True Axis. This is an iOS port of a game originally released by Pom Pom Games for the PC and Mac in 2001. True Axis actually began working on this in 2008 and incredibly had to repeatedly push back the release date for a period spanning more than 3 years. So was it worth the wait? To me the answer is a resounding yes!
Space Tripper is a top down bi directional shooter that (at least for now) utilizes only tilt controls. It has a very different feel from the usual top down shooters. The tilt-only controls give it a "Tilt to live or Flip Ship" kind of feel and the bi-directional nature differentiates it even further from the usual side scroller shooters as you go back and forth not constantly forwards. If you like tilt controls you will be happy with the ones in this game as they are spot on. There is the option to adjust the sensitivity which is another plus. The developers have said if enough people request it they might consider other control options in the future.
Gameplay can get hectic as you have all kinds of enemies coming at you from different directions, which could be easily obstructed by fingers or thumbs. The gameplay is pretty nifty as the ship automatically fires either a straight blue laser or a red spread attack which you can toggle by tapping the left side. Tap on the right side to control the direction of the shooting. The ship flies forwards or backwards based on your tilt. There is a helpful radar at the top of the screen showing your ship and the location of enemies.
At the beginning the game gives succinct directions on how to control your ship, what weapons are available and how to switch your ships direction. The bottom right corner indicates your power and the left corner shows your available time.
Graphics & Sound
We tested the game on both the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S and found that the gameplay is fairly different on each. The added real estate on the iPad allowed for what seemed like increased maneuverability, but it felt way easier to control on the iPhone due to the size of the device. The graphics are very excellent and the sound effects are appropriate to the sci-fi theme of the game.
There are 14 levels spread over 4 different worlds. Right from the get go you are warned that this is a very hard game. It will likely take even the most experienced shooter game veterans quite some time to get through Space Tripper. There is a campaign, score attack, and challenge mode and one needs to progress to an equivalent level on campaign to unlock score attack or challenge mode.
So as not to scare away more casual gamers with the extreme difficulty of the game I have to say it is also a very forgiving game. One can access the cheats menu from the pause menu and this give you anything from invulnerability to unlimited lives and skipping levels. However this turns off your progress and any achievements on Open feint or Game Center. It does give one the opportunity to practice though, and to actually experience all the worlds and levels.
In summary this is great game with excellent graphics sound effects, and has fun but very challenging gameplay. It is suited to both experienced gamers thanks to the difficulty and to casual gamers thanks to the availability of the cheats or practice mode as I call it. It combines the best of top down shooters side scrollers and the "tilt" genre with a few added twists such as the bi-directional nature.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 4 - It is not clear from the app description if there is Retina Display support. The screen shots certainly look like it but in actual game play its not as crisp. However the art work is amazing and the words have a 3D feel to them. Sound: - 5 - There is no background music and I see no option to play your own during play. However the sound effects are excellent and I personally think that's all that's necessary in a game of this intensity. Controls: - 5 - Here's a touchy one. (No pun intended). I personally find tilt controls perfect for this game. A lot of old school gamers are going to gripe about touch controls relative touch D-pads and what not. I say adapt! Tilt controls works perfectly for this game. Developer says they might add other options. I think that's a mistake. You cant please everybody. I am all for listening to your customers and making changes but come on now!! They have been working on this game for THREE YEARS. They said they tried touch controls and it didn't work well. So let it be! If you give in to this, it's the prelude to one gripe after another. Gameplay: - 5 - This is excellent. Its a tough game but is forgiving and allows you to practice. There is plenty of variety to keep you engaged.
Playing Hints and Tips:
1. Tilt your device to an angle of about 45 degrees to keep your ship centered. Adjust tilt sensitivity to your liking. 2. Use you radar to avoid getting swarmed by enemies. 3. Switch weapons as necessary. Blue laser works better in some cases, Red spread laser in others. 4. Pick up power ups or else your weapons ill get overwhelmed quickly. 5.PRACTICE using the cheats modes. 6. I tried it on ipad and iphone. Your technique has to be different with each device. Iphone is easier to move but ipad has a bigger screen and better visibility.