Tyrian in Review – Old school shooter gets back in touch


Tyrian for iPod/iPhone is a revival of the 1994 cult classic shooter by Eclipse Productions. The game is based upon an open source version of the original called OpenTyrian. I should mention before getting into specifics that due to licensing differences, you will have to download some data files in addition to the app itself. This is perhaps due to the game’s use of files under a GPL license. The whole process only took about a minute on my wifi connection, so it shouldn’t take too long for most. So how does this classic shooter translate on the iDevice? Read on!


Tyrian for iPhone features:

  • Full Story & Arcade modes
  • Four action packed episodes: “Escape”, “Treachery”, “Mission: Suicide” & “An End to Fate”
  • Sophisticated weapon upgrade system with hundreds of weapon combinations to chose from
  • 50+ levels
  • Seven difficulty levels
  • Support for cheat codes, secret game modes, easter eggs, mini-games etc.
  • 30+ music soundtracks by Alexander Brandon with a Jukebox.

Mobila Interactive publishes the game on the iDevices, and they’ve done an excellent job of bringing this old school shooter back to life. Once you begin, you’ll see options to start a new game, load a saved game, view instructions and read information about Tyrian.

Starting a new game, you’ll be offered two different gameplay modes; Full Game and Arcade Mode. Full Game mode allows you to upgrade your ship, while Arcade Mode is a more straightforward affair without the upgrade abilities. There are five episodes to play; each offers Easy, Normal, and Hard difficulties.


Even if you’re a veteran of these type of old school shooters, you should begin in Easy mode. The controls for the ship consist of swipes across the screen with no visible control such as joysticks or directional pads. Weapons can be triggered through a bar, which hogs a part of the left side of the screen.

As I mention, you should try out the easy setting; the lack of visible controls make it difficult to move your ship at first, as you get accustomed to having your fingers block part of your view, and possibly a method of entry for your enemies. Enemies will fly at you from any direction and some, though not all are capable of shooting at you. You’ll also run into environmental obstacles that can deal large amounts of damage. These are indestructible, and must be avoided as they deal insane amounts of damage. The game introduces these as you near bosses, such as the first level’s spikes, which jut out from the sides threatening to tear a hole through your ship.


If you’re playing in Full Game mode, you can upgrade your ship before heading out into battle. You can add various types of weapons, such as accompanying shooters, and rear weapons, and increase your shields. Due to the sheer number of enemies that attack you, it’s a good idea to get as many of these upgrades as you can, especially rear shooters which can literally cover your back as you zoom around the screen dodging enemies and shooting back at them.


If you’re a fan of these types of old school arcade shooters, then this is a must buy. The controls will take a few tries getting used to, especially learning how to maneuver your ships around enemies without blocking your vision for too long, but once you’re adept, it will provide hours and hours of fun. The upgrade options available in the Full Game allow you to gain a handicap against an unfair computer enemy, and add more dynamism to your battles.

As a gamer with a lot of arcade nostalgia, I give this game a Kiss It rating. For those not familiar with this classic shooter or are somewhat hesitant at dropping $1.99 on the full game, Mobila Interactive has also released a relatively featured packed free lite version for all to try.

This review was brought to you by TouchMyApps contributor Ed Fonseca.


App Summary
Title: Tyrian (v1.1) Developer: Mobila Interactive
Price: $1.99 App Size: 1.4 mb
  • Old school shooter
  • Upgrading in Full Game mode
  • Offers plenty of challenge
  • Difficult controls
  • Only 5 episodes


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