Thursday, August 25, 2011

Space Ship Ion - 1.99 (iniGames)

Space Ship Ion is a space shoot-em-up from iniGames. I should mention that shmups are some of my favorite games, ever, and that I’ve got a bullet hell group on Touch Arcade, so it might sound like I’m spoiled when I review this game, because, well, I’m use to playing some of the best bullet hell and shmup games out there.

Now, in SSI, the game relies heavily on the story and weapons shop instead of insane bullet patterns and over-loading you with enemies, which, with an AppStore full of great shmups, is a pretty risky move, but it works well here. The story is well written, and it unfolds pretty nicely. Not to say that there’s not enough action in Space Ship Ion to keep even hardened shmup fans happy, because playing on Very Hard difficulty will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the whole game.
The weapon store also adds quite a bit to the game, as you can buy and equip weapons, holding 6 guns plus a shield on your ship. Items can be bought with points that you collect while going through the game, so there’s no IAPs to worry about. I was, however, hoping for some more interesting weapons. There are a few, but with a game that’s main selling points are the story and shop, I really think the developer could have thrown in quite a bit more weaponry, and definitely more than one shield. There are, however, 2 weapons that unlock when you complete Normal and Hard Modes, and all weapons upgrade while collecting red orbs in the game.
The controls are nice, and the game kind of plays like Super Laser, because you’ve got a missile lock in front of your ship that you’ll constantly be trying to hit enemies with. The controls that are given are relative touch that works along-side tilt controls. If you don’t touch the screen for a couple seconds, the tilt controls take over. There’s also a double tap that you can use to drop a nuke, but this only works if you lift your finger off the screen first. Doubled with the tilt controls, this can cause a lot of un-necessary deaths, having your ship fly up to the top or bottom of the screen while trying to nuke a cluster of enemies.
Online leaderboards are not enabled, so the scoring mechanics are kind of lost within the game, but there are medals to unlock, adding a little bit of extra challenge to the game. The graphics in SSI are good, but not in retina display. That’s generally not a deal-breaker with most shmup fans, as there’s very few retina supported shmups in the AppStore. There’s 22 different enemies, and 8 different bosses, each needing a different strategy to deal with and defeat. The bosses animations and attacks are very well thought out, and should keep you on your toes no matter what difficulty you play on.
In the end, SSI is a decent shmup with a nice story and one of the very few shmups in the AppStore that has a shop. It is a well made shooter that should give any fan of the genre plenty of gameplay, especially for the $1.99 price-tag. Hopefully in the future some online services will be offered, and the shop will be expanded, but as it is now, it is definitely worth checking out. I know I’ll be keeping my eyes open for more games from iniGames in the future as well, because they’ve certainly managed to make their mark in the AppStore.

I’m giving Space Ship Ion a score of 4 out of 5.


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