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iPhone Game Review: Radio Flare
      #34970 - 10/23/09 03:22 PM

iPhone Game Review: Radio Flare
Reviewed by JadeDragon

Radio Flare is a 2D side scrolling shoot 'em up game in which you don't really shoot. The gameplay is uniquely designed to synchronize with music. To eliminate the enemies, all you have to do is swipe your finger across them to make a link on a beat, then poof, they are gone, leaving behind radio flares for you to collect. There have been other shoot 'em up games that had your ships dancing to the rhymes of the music, but Radio Flare takes an interesting concept further, linking the gameplay with music beats.

Gameplay

At first the gameplay seems like a shoot ?em up game made easier: hey, you don?t have to shoot. But soon you will discover without firing any weapon, linking enemy ships and syncing to the beats are all that you?ve got. That and moving your space ship out of harms way is the only way to survive. There are a good number of enemies including asteroids and space junk, each has its signature movements in patterns, speeds and some units have weapons. Once the enemy units are destroyed, they leave behind blinking red radio flares. You must collect as many of them as you can because they are not only the fuel for your space ship, but also your ticket to the next level. Not a big collection, but the game does have power-ups. Enemies drop two types of power-ups including extra lives (if any of your ships is destroyed) and connection Ball that target the next groups of enemies automatically.



Radio Flare has 7 levels including a boss level. Each level has three stages that have increasing number of enemies and faster speed as you venture deep into the space. The game engine feels very solid and the game plays very smoothly. Radio Flare feels a little too short which is a shame because it has a great engine and a very stylish presentation. Also it could use more than one boss fight, though the boss level does have three stages. The hungry fans will want more. The game offers three playing modes on the same 7 levels: Flow mode allows you to pick up any level you?ve beaten and play that level; Arcade and Bomb Run modes let you play the game sequentially and gives you different ways to earn high scores and unlockable achievements. There are some very interesting achievements, like complete the game in less than 2500 beats. If you are a perfectionist and wish to unlock all achievements, you will play the game many times to collect them all.



You control the space ship with your finger, dragging it to move around the screen. To target enemies, you use swiping motion on the screen to link 4 enemy units together quickly. If there are more than 4 enemies on the screen, you don?t have to link 4 enemy units of the same type, but in certain mode targeting stronger enemies first gives you benefits. Most enemies are very easy to link and target with the exception of the asteroid field. The asteroids some times will drift off of the screen if you don?t link them quickly, and missing too many asteroid pieces will get in a way of collection one of the achievements in the game. Overall the controls are very smooth and responsive.

Graphics

The graphics in Radio Flare look futuristic. Everything is sharp and easy to see. The enemy units look drastically different from each other, and their movements are very smooth. Fans of big explosions in shoot ?em up games will not see much of them as you are not shooting at your enemies, though some of them do shoot at you.

Sound

It?s obvious that the developer has put a lot into the music aspect in Radio Flare. The music doesn?t just play the role of background tunes but also plays a part in the gameplay. The sound track has a dominating techno style, and is arranged and mastered by a Berlin-based artist DJ Glow. Sound FX goes with the music style in space themed techno fashion and voice over fits in with the sound FX.



Pro:
-Very smooth gameplay
-Colorful enemy units, they all look and behave different
-Great soundtrack and sound FX

Con:
-Game is a bit too short
-Wish it had more boss fights

Conclusion

Radio Flare is a fun side scrolling shoot ?em up. It?s short and sweet, and using music as a part of the gameplay is creative. The controls are responsive and movements of enemies and player?s space ship are very smooth. The game has a very polished presentation overall. We only wish the ride lasted longer.




Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics: -5- Very sharp and polished graphics.
Sound: -5- Cool techno beats. Using the music as a new dimension for the game is very creative.
Controls: -5- Perfectly smooth with no learning curve.
Gameplay: -4- 7 levels in three modes are good, but the game left us wanting more levels.

Playing Hints and Tips:

-The Ball power-up is very handy when you face an overwhelming number of enemies, but you have to pick the power-up while the enemies are insight. Be aware though, there is an achievement in the game that needs you to complete the game without picking up any power-up to collect.

-Keep a close watch on the asteroids if you want to destroy as many pieces as possible. Get them before they drift off from the screen. If you can pick up a Ball power-up you can often link the asteroids even they are off the screen.

App Facts:
Developer: Studio Radiolaris
Release Date: Aug 11, 2009
Price: $2.99
Lite version (free): iTunes App Store
Buy App: iTunes App Store


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