Super Crossfire HD in Review – Who Needs Scrolling?

Long before there were glorious multi-screen scrolling shooters, games like Space Invaders and Asteroids blazed a trail of their own by making single screen shooters with simple mechanics addictive.  From time to time modern developers have tried to recapture that magic with varying degrees of success, but for me none have really done the concept justice.  That is, of course, until Super Crossfire HD came around.  The mechanics and visuals are old school, but things like particle effects and adjustable stats give it a modern flare.  Even if you resigned yourself to believing that there is no going back once you tasted the “freedom” of a scrolling shooter, you need to give this one screen wonder a try.

Your mission is simple: the aliens have invaded and you must destroy them all.  You’ll board your ship and take on 150 waves of dastardly villains that would like nothing more than to put a few lasers through your hull.  Thankfully you have lasers to fight back, and over time you’ll be able to upgrade those lasers to do more damage and hit more aliens at once.  You also have a couple tricks up your sleeve.  As you kill aliens they leave behind gems, and when you’ve collected enough of them you can user your “super weapon”, which will tear through anything with ease, even shielded foes.

The best part, though, is the warp move.  This allows you to flip from the top to the bottom of the screen, and vice versa.  This is the only way to pick up power ups (you have to warp through them), and it’s also an awesome way to dodge enemy fire.  However, there are a couple of gotchas with this move – the more aggravating one being that you can just as easily warp into enemy fire as out of it.  You also risk the chance that formations will change when you flip sides, and sometimes aliens seemingly come out of nowhere to wreak more havoc on you.  Still, what I thought would turn out to be nothing more than a gimmick actually makes for a rather interesting strategic maneuver when used correctly.

To move your ship left and right you can select tilt mode, a slider bar, or left and right buttons.  I found the tilt method to be quite awkward, and the buttons were okay but spaced far enough apart that it was easy to miss one or the other when the action got intense, so I stick with the slider.  The slider does seem to have some issues on the edges when playing on the iPad, but I haven’t tried other options on that device yet.  To warp you can either use a button or have multi-touch turned on.  It seems like these should be about the same, but I actually prefer the button.  Finally, you have a big S button to launch your super weapon.

The graphics in Super Crossfire are pretty wild.  At first I wasn’t sure I cared for them, with their flat look and slightly skewed playing field.  They really grow on you after a while, though, and the particle effects for explosions and such add a “sophisticated” element to the whole visual experience.  The sound effects are pretty decent.  There’s nothing to really single out like voices or anything like that, so it pretty much sounds like your high end space game.  The music is well energetic, well written, and really compliments the game’s atmosphere.  I like how the music changes on the slow-mo power up and then does some weird transitional morph back to the main music as well.

I’ve had the opportunity to play a lot of space shooters on my device – single screen, scrolling, dual stick… and there’s no question that Super Crossfire HD is among the top 5.  The intense action, unique warp effect, and ability to reconfigure your ship’s stats almost on the fly make the game constantly feel fresh even in the same play session.  If you have any inclination towards space shooters and haven’t gone to the App Store yet to buy this… go.  I’ve got nothing else to say.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: Super Crossfireâ„¢ HD Developer: Chillingo Ltd
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 3.1.3
Price: $2.99 App Size:
  • Intense, satisfying action
  • Awesome warp technique
  • Flexible upgrade system
  • Neat “retro” graphics
  • Good music
  • Power ups can be tricky to pick up
  • Can’t stop playing it


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