*UPDATE* (08/26/09): v1.01 has been released with some bug fixes, game balance tweaks, and other optimizations, look at post #34256 below.
iPhone Game Review: Bomb Commander
What happens when you combine the best of Missile Command, Sneezies, and Tap Shooters in general? You get Bomb Commander. "They" are here with the sole intent of destroying Earth. You, as the Bomb Commander are tasked with blasting them back to wherever they came from with a combination of bombs and lasers.
Drones are raining down and you need to blast them away with strategically placed bomb blasts with your limited amount of bombs. While the game is 90% about accurate high speed tapping, there is even a little bit of strategy since any drones caught in a bomb blast will themselves create a bomb blast which, if it catches any other drones will in turn create more blast areas (ala Sneezies) so that one cleverly placed bomb could clear an entire screen of raining drones for huge combo points! The Earth?s shields can only withstand a couple of drone hits before it is Game Over. If the drones weren?t enough fun there are some other spacecraft that can only be taken out with a direct hit (they?re immune to the usual bomb blasts). Albeit a bit of a game abstraction, the game knows that if you successfully tap one of these spacecraft you meant to fire your laser (UI so advanced it clearly can read your mind). Some of these spacecraft will require multiple hits and can drop their own drones. Lastly, beyond the drones and spacecraft are the dreaded Masterships! These nasty behemoths rain down a hellfire of drones until you take out their shielded Drone Cannons (to take down the shields you needed to first knock out the power generators with a series of direct laser blasts and then you can laser blast the big guns themselves).
Every once in a while these blasted aliens will leave behind a present for you. Simply tap to collect a 10 pack of bombs or a temporary boost to the Earth?s shields. Feeling overwhelmed? With no more than a slight shake of your iDevice you can unleash one of your 5 Super Nova Bombs that will clear the screen of everything. As the game continues you?ll gain access to more and more advanced bombs like Laser Bombs (a blast that also fires out a few lightning bolts to nearby opponents) and Black Hole Bombs (they create a small black hole to suck up nearby baddies) to aid you in your grim task. If you get far enough in the Normal game a few game variants are unlocked like Infinity (how long can you last against an endless wave of drones), Sudden Death (like the Normal mode but the Earth is out of shields causing the game to end the second any opponent makes it through), and even a Mysterious fourth game mode one would have to unlock to see.
The graphics in this game are pretty clever. The game?s 2D graphics combines almost photorealistic animated backdrops with sort of abstracted neon baddies coming at you in the foreground. I also love how they incorporate the Masterships as these ships so massive you?ll only see a small part of them on the screen at any point in time. I also love how the explosions seem to even get brighter as the blasts chain together to the point of a really big chain of blasts will just bathe the screen in bright white light!
The game has a great epic and ominous soundtrack with decent laser pews and bomb blasts. You can hear what I?m talking about in regard to soundtrack in the video below.
Pros: -Slick presentation. -Quick pick up and play mechanics. -Great difficulty progression (not just more difficult but slowly introduces new weapons and baddies). -Local and Global Score tracking for each game mode.
Cons: -Game state isn?t saved on exit. -Limited variety of item drops (at this point only 2).
If a fan of tap shooters, especially in the vein of Missile Command and or Sneezies, you?ll love this one!
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: -4- Cool stylized 2D graphics. Sound: -4- Great soundtrack with decent laser and bomb blast sounds.. Controls: -5- Can you tap a screen? Assuming you can do so you?ll have no problem with the controls. Gameplay: -4.5- If you like tap shooters in the style of Missile Command or Sneezies you?ll love this one.
Playing Hints and Tips:
-To Continue or Not Continue? When playing the Normal Game you can continue your game after you die up to 3x. If being offered a chance why wouldn?t you continue you ask? It?s all about the score, man. If you continue you?ll start over on the last level you?ve reached with a fresh supply of bombs, Super Novas, and the Earth?s shields fully recharged but with 0 points. You can only enter your high score and collect all of your end of game bonuses once you finally stop continuing. So if you want to make an all time high score you have to ask yourself do you end it here or are you cocky enough to think you could do even better when starting at the level that just killed you off? What is the incentive then to continuing? The Normal Game has 10 levels and if you want to unlock all of the alternative gameplay modes and face-off against the game?s ultimate baddy you?ll need to bite the bullet and journey forth!
-Score Multipliers are your friend! Getting a huge chain reaction of 20+ drones isn?t just fun to see but means your following points will be doubled. Heck, if you?re really good you might kill 30+ drones in a single blast to get to a x3 Score Multiplier! As all good things must eventually come to an end, this score multiplication only stays in effect until a single baddy slips through and hits the Earth?s shields.