iPad Game Review: Roswell Fighter HD Reviewed by Tom Slayton
Roswell Fighter HD is a 2D top-down shooter. Like so many of these games that have come before, your goal is to shoot everything that moves while dodging bullets and collecting power-ups. There is really nothing new or revolutionary about Roswell Fighter HD, however, that is not necessarily a bad thing as the tried and true formula applied here seems to work pretty well. Like its little brother: Roswell Fighter (for the iPhone/iPod Touch) it faithfully captures the spirit of the top-down shooter; and does so with bright, crisp visuals and a pounding soundtrack.
The setting is 1950s paranoid America and your mission is to shoot down an invasion force approximately the size of the one in the movie Independence Day. Controls in a game like this are crucial and the developers have given us several options to choose from. The first is the least intuitive and seems to rely on the player swiping his/her finger madly about the screen while the plane responds by flying in whatever direction it feels like. I?m sure if I?d practiced at this I would have had better results, but it didn?t take long to completely frustrate me so I moved on to the second option, a touch-based control scheme. Simply put, your plane will happily go wherever you move your finger. I found this MUCH easier, and settled quickly on it as my preferred control method. The third option utilizes the iPad?s accelerometer; easy to understand, but not as responsive as either of the first two choices. In all cases, firing the primary weapon is handled automatically (thankfully) so you won?t need to lay your iPad on a flat surface and tap the fire button.
Power-ups and secondary weapons are made available throughout the game and judicious use of them will mean the difference between life and death; especially on the boss encounters. The power-ups can increase your shot spread, increase your number of shots, and even give you wingmen. Without power-ups, you won't last very long. They are easy to see, but not always easy to get. In fact, sometimes, it?s better to let one go than take the hits necessary to get there. Making you work for them is a nice touch and that aspect of the game is very well-balanced.
There are eleven levels in the game (same as in the iPhone/iPod Touch version) and a skilled gamer can probably power through all of them in about an hour. While this may seem a bit light, the game has a great deal of replayability due to its ability to post high scores online via OpenFeint, and the inclusion of multiple difficulty levels.
The graphics have been re-rendered for the higher resolution iPad screen, and look great. The enemies are nicely varied, as are the weapon effects. The backgrounds of each level could really benefit from a bit more variety, however. While the casual gamer may not notice it, any amount of continuous play will result in a feeling of d?j? vu, as you fly over terrain you're sure you've seen before.
The sounds are a mixed-bag. I found myself enjoying the sound effects; however, it didn't take long before I was scrambling to disable the in-game voice. With phrases like: "Keep On Truckin'! and "Go For It!", a little goes a long way, and after hearing both of them (as well as a few choice others) six or seven times in the first level alone, I was ready to claw my ears off. The music can best be described as rock-abilly or country-fried rock. It is very lively and really adds a nice retro feel to the game.
While not groundbreaking, Roswell Fighter HD is a solid 2D top-down shooter with sharp, crisp graphics and nice sound effects. If this is your type of game, you won't be disappointed. Even if it's not, however, its reasonable price and high degree of polish make it highly accessible for even the most casual of gamer.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 4 - Nicely re-rendered for the iPad, however the levels can seem monotonous after a while. Sound: - 3 - Great sound effects, good music, and incredibly irritating voice. Controls: - 5 - Three control options mean you?re bound to find one you like. The use of autofire takes the tedium out of gameplay and means you can play the game in your lap, with one hand. Gameplay: - 4 - Lots of things to blow-up and difficulty ramps up nicely. It could use a few more levels, however.
Playing Hints and Tips:
Don't try to finish the game in one sitting. Experiment early with all of your different power-ups and large weapons. Knowing what to use, and when, is the key to success.