Dariusburst SP in Review – Everything Old Rocks It New Again

The week that DARIUSBURST SP came out I included it in my weekly “10 App Store Games To Watch” list and hoped that it would be half as good as another Taito “retread” called RayForce (TMA Review) .  Well, after spending some time with the game I’d wager to say it’s actually better.  At the very least they’ve handled the “too easy” issue amicably, but Dariusburst has a third game play mode, two fighters which need to be unlocked before use and a branching level system – all of which greatly extend the replay value.  Sure the initial run through can still be fairly short, but there’s a lot more reason to keep playing this one after you’ve beaten it.

Dariusburst is a horizontal rather than vertical shooter, but otherwise it’s still the basic “you against the aliens” concept.  I believe Original mode is a port of the PSP version and SP is a remixed variant of Original with a couple of new bosses thrown in.  Both contain 11 zones, but you only play through 5 at any one time, which means for each mode there are several combinations of zones you can play before exhausting all the combinations.  Missions mode is a bit bizarre as it is comprised of 8 missions with 4 chapters each, but the chapters might contain simply a boss fight or several seemingly random zones thrown together.

You get your choice of 4 different spacecraft, two of which must be unlocked by playing various modes.  The ships have different shot strength and armor, but where they feel the most different from each other is in their burst power, which is a weapon that can be fired and then sometimes controlled depending on which craft you select.  There are a variety of bad guys to fight, several of which take a number of shots to destroy, but most of which don’t require the burst shot.  Each zone has an end boss, however, which is a great time to use the burst weapon (multiple times if you can pull it off).  There are some pretty slick enemies throughout the levels, but many of the bosses are absolutely incredible.

You drag your finger around the screen to move your ship and press a button to start and stop the burst weapon.  Firing is automatic by default though you can shut it off, but I haven’t actually been able to figure out how to fire manually.  There are three difficulty levels, and while not drastic you can tell the difference between easy and normal (I haven’t tried hard yet).  More importantly, though, is that you can control the number of continues including setting the value to 0, so if you thought Rayforce was too easy you should be able to make this one harder.  There’s also something called Silver Hawk Stock that I think affects game play, but I’m not entirely sure what it does.

Dariusburst has some pretty incredible visuals.  The backgrounds are really good for the most part, though a couple of the levels can be a bit nauseating.  I love the ship designs, however.  A few of the minor ones are kind of silly, but the bigger ones look cool especially when they start taking avian or aquatic features.  For the most part the bosses are incredible, and put your average modern shooter to shame.

The sound effects are give or take – mostly take because I can’t stand silent games.  The music, on the other hand, is as brilliant as the graphics.  I don’t really know how to categorize it, and it’s certainly not the kind of noise I’d sit and listen to outside of the game, but it compliments the action so well that I rather enjoy it while I’m blasting alien spacecraft to bits.

I love a brand new iOS only release as much as the next guy, but in the end I just want to play good games.  If that means porting something from another platform or reviving a franchise that started more than 20 years ago (or both, in this case), then I’m all for it.  Much like Rayforce, the sticking point here is going to be the price tag, because there are still a lot of really good shooters for much less money.  If you’re willing to admit that quality should cost money, though, and you want to see why certain series are still loved after so many years, Dariusburst SP is a great example of both.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: DARIUSBURST SPDeveloper: TAITO Corporation
Reviewed Ver:Min OS Req:4.3
Price:$10.99App Size:
  • Fun, frantic game play
  • Plenty of replayability
  • Stellar visuals
  • Awesome soundtrack
  • Universal app
  • Initial play through pretty quick
  • Doesn’t save game if you quit app

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