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iPhone Game Review: Earth Defense Force (E.D.F.)
      02/06/11 05:23 PM

iPhone Game Review: Earth Defense Force (E.D.F.)
Reviewed by JadeDragon

DotEmu is a specialist in porting 90's arcade games to iOS and now they have ported Earth Defense Force or E.D.F. by Jaleco arcade series to the iPhone and iPod touch. The iOS version is a faithful port of the popular arcade title and brings 6 levels of intense shoot 'em up gameplay in two playing modes. For those who spent their youth in dark and noisy arcades, E.D.F. will bring back the old glory in a true old-school style.


Although by today's standards, Earth Defense Force doesn't look like a top tier game. But games like this are the stuff of countless imitations and homage. The levels in E.D.F. get progressively longer and are filled with non-stop enemy attacks. The game plays exactly like it was played in the arcade: your fighter plane comes from the left side with enemies coming from all directions. The game has two modes: Arcade mode emulates the real arcade gameplay where you must survive tough fights and unlock weapons and their power levels. But one nice thing about the iPhone port is that you get a Free to Play mode where you can go from level 1 to level 6 without dying too quickly. While the Arcade mode can be frustrating (you will likely not make to the end of all six levels on the first try), it provides the necessary challenge to unlock weapons. The two game modes compliment each other very well and will keep you coming back to try and get better.

Earth Defense Force offers one plane with 4 types of weapons that can gain levels in power. The gameplay balances firepower with movement, though compared to many today?s Shoot ?em up games where weapons take center stage, E.D.F. requires a lot of dancing around enemy space crafts, bullets and space junk. This gameplay styles serves as a reminder of why the genre got so popular: you are not only required to shoot down your enemies but also constantly moving and finding small safe spots to position your plane to survive. The reward of beating a level is double sweet with this style of gameplay.

E.D.F. has lots of different enemies and each of them has its own moving patterns and firepower. As you go deeper into the later levels, you not only will encounter a level-end boss, but also you will have to content with mid-level semi bosses. As the heat turns up from level 3 on, enemies are coming faster and in greater numbers. Each level has a different environment, and if you have played E.D.F. in the arcade beofer you will recognize the large Star Wars like battle cruiser level or the ocean level where enemies will pop out from the water. The change of scenery really helps the visual and keeps gameplay fresh. The developer also released a new update that adds Game Center support with plenty of achievements to chase after.

Graphics & Sound

Retro game fans know that ports of old games bring old memories but also old style graphics. Earth Defense Force is by no means the best looking Shoot ?em up game on the iPhone, but it keeps the original game style and actually looks pretty sharp on the iPhone 4?s retina display. The fast gameplay runs smoothly and controls which takes up a vertical strip on the left feels reasonably responsive.

Sound too emulates the arcade version of the game. Background music has that arcade style techno in low gear kind of sound and though it?s nothing fancy the music and sound effects complete the game?s retro style.


Good shoot ?em up games come rarely and are too far between. DotEmu did a good job porting this arcade title to the iPhone and iPod touch. If you are looking for a retro style game Earth Defense Force is a good title to get. The game isn?t very long but the intense ride is still worth a trip down the memory lane.

Please note: the game runs on iPhone 3GS, iPhone4, iPod Touch 3rd Generation and up, and iPad Devices.

Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics: - 4 - Retro style graphics fit the game, in Arcade mode there is still ?Continue? button that doesn?t go anywhere.
Sound: - 3.5 - Retro style sounds also fit the game well.
Controls: - 4 - Only one control on the left, you can play the game in portrait to use the left-handed control.
Gameplay: - 4.5 - Still packs a lot of fun and intense heat in gameplay. Two modes add a lot to replay value.

Playing Hints and Tips:

- You can play the game in portrait mode if you don?t like to use left-handed control.

- You don?t have to kill every single enemy. Dodging bullets are more important some times to your survival.

- Hit the bottom right button to cycle through your weapons.
App Facts:

Developer: DotEmu
Release Date: Jan 20, 2011 (updated to v1.1)
Price: $1.99
Buy App: Earth Defense Force


Check out our full list of iPhone/iPod touch game reviews:

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