Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Blast Zone Mega - 0.99 (Maximilian Bode)

Blast Zone Mega is the first iOS game from Maximilian Bode. The goal of the game is to destroy cities by maneuvering a bomb through circles, avoiding planes, and hitting the bullseye on theground. You start off as a grenade dropped out of a plane, and each circle you successfully make it through, makes you bigger. Hopefully, the end result is you being a big flashing mega-bomb that can take out the entire city. You move the bomb while falling through the air with a joystick in the lower left hand corner. Planes seem to come right at you, and get in your way quite a bit. Getting around them without touching them and still making it through the redcircles in the air is quite the challenge. The first world is pretty easy, but by the second world, you’ll be ready to throw your device at a wall if you keep trying to get perfect scores. You can, however, just avoid the planes, and not go through circles, hitting the ground as a grenade if you’d like to just rush through the story mode, and unlock arcade mode.

There’s 12 story mode levels, and 9 levels in arcade mode. Doesn’t sound like much, but after the first 4 levels, the difficulty will make it hard to unlock arcade mode, and even if you do manage to unlock it, you can go back and re-play the game trying to get a better high-score. GameCenter, or OpenFeint would be a very welcome addition to this game, as it is pretty much structured around getting a highscore. Right now, your only drive for score is to beat your own local scores, which does take away from the replayability quite a bit. No achievements is also a factor when it comes to replayabilty. But even without online scores or achievements, Blast Zone Mega has a certain spark that just keeps me going back for more.
It’s difficult, but it’s got the perfect amount of difficulty, where you want to keep going back to try and get further and further in the game. You’re given 5 lives for each of the 3 worlds that are split up into 4 levels, and the deaths are never caused by the game, bad controls, or lag, it’s always reflexes that aren’t quick enough. So there’s no battling the control system in this one, and you only have yourself to blame for each life you loose.
The retro graphics are also very well done, picturing Blast Zone Mega being released in the days of NES/SNES and SEGA games isn’t hard at all, and just like most of my favorite old-school games, it has that ‘just one more time’ feeling after each game over. You will be able to fly through power-ups that give you a shield you can use to blow up planes with, and help add to your score, and they’re placed in pretty good areas, giving them to you right before a little cluster of planes comes your way.
For Maximilian Bode’s first entry to the iOS gaming industry, this is a great game. Really, for any developing company, this would be a nice entry to the AppStore. More power-ups would be great to see in a future update, as right now, the only one in the game is a shield that lasts about 5 seconds. Maybe some more modes, like something that has you go after the planes or something would also be nice to see. But as it is right now, I’m giving Blast Zone Mega 4 out of 5 stars. There is room for improvement, but it’s still worth getting if you enjoy NES/SNES/SEGA era games that keep pushing you to play regardless of their difficulty. I will definitely be keeping my eyes on Maximilian Bode to see what he comes up with in the future. Blast Zone Mega is available in the AppStore for $0.99.


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