We often find ourselves going back to fond childhood memories of the games we played back in the “good old days”, when the quality of the game play itself on the PC was far more important than flashy graphics. Dogfighting games were always addictive and came in a multitude of varieties, but all had one thing in common: game play which while quite simple, required incredible skill and finesse. And don’t even get me started on the glorious feeling of pounding your friends to dust in hot-seat multi player (yeah, that was the only way you COULD play multi player in those days). Well, MrFungFung has brought the same good ol’ fun to the iPhone!
MiniSquadron is a dogfighting side-shooter where you control your plane and must decimate all opponents on the map. Opponents come in waves and you must use all your skill and finesse to dodge their shots on the limited map. This simple idea is augmented by power-ups and a selection of more than 50 unlock-able planes (including UFOs, Tridents and even a Giant Squid!) with different flying characteristics and weapons and more!
MiniSquadron is amazingly addictive. Rather than starting my review, I have stayed glued to the screen and just.can’t.get.away… Up its sleeve is the great idea of unlocking planes after a high score. These come at a specific wave in a level and work brilliantly to coax you back to that level to unlock everything. There are 8 different maps with distinct artwork and NPBs (non-player birds). In total, there are 12 waves and a boss fight in every map.
The planes can be split by classes or weapons and look incredibly sweet. All planes have been thought and drawn with minute attention to detail and the backgrounds are eye-candy. The NPBs are extremely funny, especially the flying sheep, turtles and squids. I would especially like to note the flawless performance on a 3G iPhone. The music choice is controversial, since you’ll have to do your fighting to the works of Mozart, Tchaikovsky and other masters of classical music. But for some strange reason it works. The weapons include single, double and triple canons, homing missiles, drop-bombs, cluster bombs and the laser. The weapons vary not only in power, but in effect, i.e. the homing missile will actually lock onto the victim, while the cluster bomb will actually fire directly upward with an arc of shots and so on.
Power-ups are critical to the game play. While there’s no way to control it, your life will often hinge on a timely power-up. They range from extra lives and healing to all-round missile strike, airstrike, the blinding nuclear flash that will stall all opponents and the temporary but extremely powerful BigLaser.
While not real-life, fighters boast individual physics and even stall after too much climbing which will make you scramble to right the man-made meteor.
MiniSquadron features the only option of on-screen controls with a virtual stick and a fire button or two joysticks depending on the plane you’re piloting. They are also quite unusual, since instead of controlling the direction of the plane, the ‘sticks’ move it around the screen like it was a freely-moving pac-man. And considering that this is a flight game, where is accelerometer control?
Unfortunately, multi-player is one-on-one local Wi-Fi only. Online battles, leader boards, and Twitter integration could really turn MiniSquadron in a mega-bombshell. It would be great to boast about achievements, especially unlocking the Giant Squid.
It’s easy to see that the developer really poured heart and soul into MiniSquadron. It is excellently balanced with great game play, cute graphics, and original soundtrack. Mini Squadron is a polished dogfighting title which should appeal to any person who ever held an iPhone. Even the lack of online multi player doesn’t stop it from stealing my time as I go back again and again to unlock every single airplane!
With this I declare MiniSquadron officially touched.
|Reviewed Ver:||1.0||Min OS Req:||3.0|
|Price:||$2.99||App Size:||29.3 MB|
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