Mutant Storm is a lightning-fast dual-stick shooter. Originally available for PC/Mac, and later X-Box Live, Mutant Storm for iPad provides portable, non-stop, old-school arcade action.
Mutant Storm is a dual-stick shooter that was originally available for PC/Mac and X-Box. Drawing its inspiration from the manic arcade games of the early 80's like Robotron, Mutant Storm delivers fast-paced, frenetic action in the form of 89 distinct waves of increasingly tough, belligerent, and aggressive enemies. There are the usual amenities you would expect with these types of games, such as smart bombs, extra lives and powerups (3-way shot, cutting laser, homing missile, spinners, shield, and point bonus). An extra life and an extra smart bomb are awarded every 10th level, and your progress is also saved in the form of a checkpoint. This means that if you only make it to level 9, you will need to restart at level 1 the next time you play. However, if you make it through level 10, you will be given the option to restart there. There is also a second game mode called Tally, where you are given the option to progress through the game one level at a time.
There are also a variety of ships to choose from, however, the differences between are merely cosmetic, unfortunately. Having pumped an embarrassing amount of quarters into the original dual stick shooter, Robotron; I can tell you that Mutant Storm does a great job of capturing the exhilarating feeling of overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds. Being successful does not depend on memorizing layouts, patterns, etc. It requires you to be skilled, accurate, and cool under fire. I remember crowds gathering when I played Robotron 30 years ago in an arcade, and being good at Mutant Storm commands the same sort of respect - at least among my two boys. As I said, there are 89 levels (Why 89?) to keep you busy. However, there are also 8 difficulty levels called belts. You can't say you've mastered the game until you've won on the black belt setting, which is an insanely difficult achievement, by the way. The controls work well, although they suffer from the same problem as all touchscreen dual-stick shooters; thumb drift. They are responsive and accurate, however, which is all you can really ask for. Mutant Storm supports both Game Center Achievements and Leaderboards so start piling up those kills and start working on your bragging rights.
Mutant Storm really delivers in the graphics department, especially on the new iPad, thanks to it fully supporting that device's retina screen. The game also looks great on both the iPad 1, and iPad 2, however, managing a full 60 fps on all three devices. The fun doesn't stop here, however, because not only are the graphics fast and crisp, they are also beautiful in all their glowy angular goodness.
Great sound effects and music, although I found myself turning the music down so I could better hear the effects.
In-App Purchases (IAPs)
No IAPs of any kind, which is great news.
Mutant Storm is a fantastic dual-stick shooter for the iPad. It looks great, plays great, and captures that old school "one against many" feeling of exhilaration. While I would like to see some variation in the ships and possibly some sort of multiplayer, this is a solid and functionally complete port of an X-Box Live classic so I can't complain too much.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - Beautiful, glowing vector graphics that run at 60 FPS every iPad model, and at high resolution on the new iPad. Sound: - 4 - Very good sound effects and music. Controls: - 4 - Accurate and responsive dual-stick controls. My only complaint is that a second finger is required to detonate a smart bomb, which is awkward when holding the device in your hands. Gameplay: - 4.5 - Lots of fun, lots of variation in enemies. It could benefit from some variation in ships, however.
Playing Hints and Tips:
When you're still acquiring your dual-stick skills, feel free to use the smart bombs freely. However, once you set out to play for real, you will need to save them for later levels. This game is best played in 10-level chunks unless you're going all the way because every 10th level is a checkpoint, which enables you to start there the next time.