Isotope: A Space Shooter in Review – RPG, Vectors, SHMUP, Oh My!

isotope6For a while, I felt like I was searching for something that I couldn’t quite grasp. It seemed that so many games I’ve played had some of the elements that were great, but were lacking in other areas. It’s almost as if there was this meta-uber game that resided in the back of my mind that has yet to see fruition. With Isotope: A Space Shooter, I feel that I have gotten one step closer to playing that meta-uber game of my imagining… and this is praise indeed.

isotope2Isotope looks and plays much like the highly acclaimed Geometry Wars. It is a top down shoot-em-up where you must navigate your ship through each world, destroy the enemies that appear, dodge bullets aimed your way, and finally take on a boss or two. You play using a virtual control pad. The left side moves the ship, the right side is used to shoot the full 360 degrees. All this is standard fare for the many games in this genre that are appearing in the AppStore. What sets Isotope apart from most of the pack are the RPG elements that are infused within the game.

Unlike some other SHMUP games that offer certain customization options, Isotope goes the full length in giving the player a true RPG experience. What does this mean?

isotope3Instead of just gaining cash to upgrade your vessel, Isotope allows you to change you ship’s class. You can buy new ships that offer a variety of modification potentials. Their firing mechanism is different, the potential damage of weapons, the strength of their speed, how fast they are, how many modifications you can make to the ship… the options are enough to satiate the RPG-fiend in all of us.

Not only is there an amazing array of customization options, there is also another RPG element that I have not found in other SHMUPS on the iDevice: Leveling up. When you purchase a new ship, you start off slow, weak, and unable to customize yourself beyond one module. Going through worlds and destroying your enemies gives you experience points that you can use to level up your ship. This adds an interesting element to this game and definitely helps in the longevity of gameplay. With 40 ships and so many different abilities to purchase and experiment with, Isotope takes a good while to finish.

isotope4Isotope: A Space Shooter offers so much. It features:

  • Fast and Frenetic gameplay with tons of enemy mobs.
  • A Full Campaign Mode with over 30 missions.
  • Earn credits from missions and spend them in the store to expand your arsenal of ships, modules, abilities and satellites.
  • 40 different ships to purchase and level up.
  • Purchase and equip modules to increase your ship’s effectiveness.
  • Use abilities like mega laser, blackhole and time stop to turn the tide in battle.
  • Equip satellites and have them fight by your side.
  • Take your leveled-up ship and compete in survival mode with online leaderboards.
  • Play the game exactly how you want to play it with 5 different control schemes

The survival mode and online leaderboard are a great addition to the lengthy campaign mode.

isotope5I cannot express how much I am enjoying the evolution of gameplay and game offerings these developers are churning out for the iDevice. True, there are thousand upon thousands of crap offerings that make the App Store landscape feel many times like an App Store landfill, but when you find gems like Isotope, it definitely makes wading through the muck and mire worth it.

If you haven’t yet, please please please get Isotope. There is a lite version out, so try before you buy, but let me say, it’s when you’re on your third ship purchase, customizing the heck out of it that you begin to really enjoy this game.


App Summary
Title: Isotope (v1.0) Developer:
Price: $2.99 App Size: 9.1 mb
  • Plethora of Customizations
  • Great Vector Graphics
  • 5 Control Schemes
  • Deep RPG like elements
  • Needs More Variety of Weapons
  • Gameplay a Tad Slower Than other SHMUPs


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