Liberation Maiden in Review – Nothing Old School About This Shooter

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About all I knew of LIBERATION MAIDEN going into it was that the game was a shooter and that it was a port from another system.  This is definitely a game that has been under-promoted in my opinion.  As much as I love scrolling shooters, I’ve realized that my iOS experience with the genre has never lived up to its potential until now.  Liberation Maiden certainly isn’t perfect, but it’s unlike any shooter you’ve played on your iPad to this point.  The final boss battle alone almost makes the whole game worth it, as it was one of the most intense experiences I’ve had with this genre on a mobile device.  The price tag is a bit hefty relatively speaking, but if you’re a die hard scrolling shooter fan you should seriously consider this one.

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The setting is New Japan, which has been taken over by invaders with very powerful weaponry.  You are the teenage daughter of the president, who must step into his shoes after he is assassinated.  You’ll take control of your giant mech, head straight for the enemy and not come back until the ultimate evil is destroyed.  There are only 5 chapters, but the first four consist of destroying three “lesser” spikes and one “greater” spike, which are basically rather defensive energy points, as well as completing one or more sub-missions.  It seems like there is plenty to do, though in the end it felt a bit short on content (or maybe it just made the time fly by too fast).  You will be in for quite a ride when it comes to the final boss battle, so be warned.

Instead of the normal shooter that has left and right control and possibly forward and back, Liberation Maiden takes place in a full 3D world so you get a virtual joystick to control your mech.  Sometimes this means you can lose sight of your target, but thankfully they included a strafe control that when active treats the joystick as a simple left / right control to rotate you around a particular spot.  I just wish it were easier to activate and deactivate the feature, because it is very useful.  You eventually have two different main weapons to choose from: missiles that work by dragging your finger to select targets and then releasing to launch, and a laser that you press and hold to fire.  Maybe I was just using it wrong, but I found the laser cumbersome and primarily stuck to the missiles.  Finally you have a blade that when charged can unleash nifty damage on everything in the area.  Again it’s not the most user friendly to activate because you must swipe the screen to use it, which takes you away from the overall control of your mech for a moment.

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Once you have completed each level in story mode you can replay the level an infinite number of times in Stage Attack mode, trying to better your score or simply seeing how it plays at a different difficulty level. There are also 20 achievements to earn, some of which might require you to take more than one pass through the game.  While there may not be many levels, there is certainly plenty to do if you’re one who doesn’t mind flying through familiar territory multiple times.

The visuals in Liberation Maiden are quite impressive.  An anime quality intro kicks things off right, and a nicely detailed 3D landscape dotted with villainous crafts provides a decent level of eye candy.  It’s especially easy to appreciate the graphics when you’re taking on one of the bosses, particularly the final confrontation.  The only thing I wish they would have taken more advantage of was weather effects.  I was disappointed during the “zero visibility” raid through fog that turned out to be not so much.  The overall sound effects were pretty standard fare for this type of game, but they did a great job casting the voices for the president and her advisor.  The music was very entertaining, most notably in the first and last stages.

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I’m not at all suggesting that old school vertical shooter developers abandon their intentions.  However, it’s nice to see a game like Liberation Maiden every now and again that chucks conventions to the wind and brings gamers a unique experience.  I wasn’t completely on board with the controls, and I wish there would have been a couple more levels before I had to start repeating my efforts, but overall this was a solid experience that I had a hard time tearing myself away from.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: LIBERATION MAIDENDeveloper: Level-5 Inc.
Reviewed Ver:Min OS Req:5.0
Price:$4.99App Size:
  • Unique shooter experience
  • Incredible final boss
  • Excellent visuals
  • Well written music
  • Blade / strafe controls could be more user friendly
  • Needs a couple more levels
  • Weak ending

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