Cell War in Review – Fight the dreaded H1N1 right from your iPhone!

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Side-scrolling shooters have been among the most popular games since their first arcade debut. Technology has certainly moved on since then and now you can enjoy games right in the palm of your hands that the ancestors of today’s consoles could only dream about. Cell War, one the latest addition to the genre by TipCat Mobile offers the blend of state-of-the-art graphics with classic addictive game-play. Can they deliver on their offers? Let’s find out!

It’s time to take charge and finally show all those pesky viruses and bacteria, who’s the boss around here. Taking under control the amazing new nanoship, you battle the enemies and finally can make sure you stay healthy all the time! Cell War is a classic horizontal arcade scroller/shooter game. The goal is simple – kill everybody and survive! The game play is really reminiscent of the classic entries in the genre, with power-ups, special weapons and more.

The ship fires automatically, freeing your attention and fingers to devote to the movement and use of special weapons. There are, unfortunately, only two of them: 1.) fire-and-forget rockets that lock on the enemy and destroy all blasts in the vicinity of your ship and may clear the screen very quickly. The main weapons are upgradable with bonuses left by enemies or found in special crates and offer quite a variety of ways to put viruses down.

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Cell War makes excellent use of the multitude of ways to control the iPhone. You tap an enemy to fire the homing missile, hold the two bottom corners to activate the shockwave and tilt the iPhone to move the ship. Unfortunately, herein lies the trap. There is ONLY the tilt control, which makes it impossible to play the game on the go, as well as making it hellishly difficult to get the ship into those tight spots where the bonuses lie waiting. Cell War really would benefit from touch controls. Another difficulty I ran into when playing is activating the shock wave weapon. While it seems easy, one of my thumbs would constantly miss the activation areas. They could really use enlarging.

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There are many difficulty settings to choose from, varying from an easy devoid of enemies to hard where levels teem with normal baddies, and sometimes, multiple sub-management-level bosses! Cell War does not save state, only the stage you’re in, although there are checkpoints in-level you revert to when killed. I found it rather frustrating that when you’re killed all of the weapons are reset to the base, making it really difficult to progress once killed near the end of a stage. A health-penalty would be much better for the casual player, or those whose games are frequently interrupted.

The graphics in Cell War are very well done – a lot of work has been put into making viruses and various other enemies look revolting. Despite the crisp picture, the performance of the game is excellent on my 3G, though I would nevertheless recommend to restart/respring your iDevice before playing, especially if you have Winterboard installed. The music and sound effects all fall nicely in line with the gaming experience.

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Overall, Cell War is really a classic representative of the genre. It has reasonably good controls, that could benefit from adding a touch-based option and offers a rewarding experience for both casual players and fans. At the same time it’s certainly no Jets’n'Guns (my favourite side scroller of all time). It misses ship and weapon variety, but since there is a Lite version available, any interested parties can try it out and see if the gameplay lives up to their expectations.

With this I declare Cell War officially touched.

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App Summary
Title:Cell War (v.1.0)Developer:TipCat Mobile
Price:$2.99App Size:8.8 MB
  • Classic gameplay
  • Great graphics and performance
  • Interesting variety of controls
  • Limited number of weapons and bonuses
  • Only tilt movement controls
  • Lacks variety in gameplay

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