iPhone Game Review: Front Runner Reviewed by ninjackid
Tactile Entertainment definitely doesn't keep from releasing games of totally different genres. From a bunch of mini-games to a virtual pet game and now, a top-down type of bullet hell shooter. Shoot down those bullies in Front Runner.
In Front Runner, you pilot... well, the Front Runner to teach those annoying space baddies a lesson. The game features 3 'stories' with 7 levels each, and an unlockable survival mode. The game also has upgradeable weapons and stats and boss fights at the end of each story.
The game plays like most other top down bullet hell shoot ?em ups, with enemies coming from the top of the screen down and has you doing all you can to avoid their bullets and to shoot as many as you can. It starts off pretty easy, with your ship slow and less powerful, and as the game progresses it gets progressively tougher, but fortunately you can upgrade your ship's weapons and stats with the 'notes' (which are used as a type of currency) the enemies drop.
Controlling the ship is as simple as swiping the screen to move the ship, and the ship fires automatically. While this works well enough, it doesn't feel quite as smooth and polished as it should be, especially when you are dodging an onslaught of bullets, even when you max out your speed all the way and it lacks other control options.
The boss fights are fun and can get rather challenging, but after you defeat a boss you unlock their weapons to buy and upgrade. However, if the bosses so much as touch your ship, you automatically die. This gets frustrating as most deaths in boss fights are caused by touching. So keep your distance! But fortunately, should you die, all the notes you collected are carried over and added to your total amount.
There are also a lot of varied enemies throughout the game along with the bosses who once you defeat them will occasionally appear throughout the levels to add to the gameplay. The weapons range from lightning, missiles, your main gun and a nice suprise at the end.
Once you finish all the story modes, the survival mode is unlocked to collect even more notes and to max out your ship which enhances the game's replay value.
So what separates Front Runner from other shoot em ups? It has a fun, quirky storyline, with bosses who are more annoying than evil, and it's a fun bullet hell shooter that everyone can enjoy, that's not overly challenging or too easy.
Graphics & Sound
The graphic style is amazingly unique and with great looking hand drawn sprites and backgrounds. The game has an entirely cartoony look and feel to it, and fits the whole theme very well.
Sound is kept simple, but works well for the game, with simple quirky sci-fi sound effects and tracks. iPod music is not yet supported.
Front Runner is a great simple shoot-em-up with a funny storyline. For those looking for a bullet hell shooter that's not amazingly hard to maneuver and one that's easy to play for the casual gamer, Front Runner is for you.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - Unique, cartoony and well-varied graphics look great. Sound: -3.5 - Simple soundtracks and effects do their job. iPod music not supported. Controls: - 3.5 - Simple control scheme works good, but lacks other options. Gameplay: - 4 - A great, unique shooter with fun graphics and a funny storyline, but is not without minor flaws.
Playing Hints and Tips:
-Keep moving and dodging bullets if you want to survive longer.