Friday, July 20, 2012

Super Ox Wars [Llamasoft] - $1.99

Jeff Minter is sort of a God in the gaming industry. Founder of Llamasoft, he’s been in the business for over 30 years, and has developed numerous games for the Sinclair XZ81, Commodore VIC-20, Atari 2600, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Atari ST, Atari 400/800, Pocket PC, XBLA, PC, and iDevice. Some classic games you might have heard of; Tempest 2000 - 3000 - X3, Traxx, Sheep in Space, Hover Bovver, Abductor, Trip-a-Tron, Virtual Light Machine and loads more. On the iOS, he’s ported over the classics, Minotron: 2112, Minotaur Rescue, Deflex, Caverns of Minos and Gridrunner. He’s best known for his inclusion of llamas, sheep, camels, oxen, and his psychedelic graphics. But his most recent release, Super Ox Wars, an Ikaruga influenced polarity shoot-em-up, could be considered one of his best iOS releases to date. On the distant planet, Parint, two oxen are revered by the people. With each ox representing a valuable characteristic of the society, each person chooses one ox to guide their spirit. Parint was invaded by the Marcab Empire, who enslaved the people. It’s up to you to save the people, and your planet by using the power of the oxen. 

Like most Minter releases, Super Ox Wars is filled with psychedelic graphics and animations, fast moving enemies, a great scoring system, smooth controls and a fantastic challenge. There is only one mode in SOW, but like Gridrunner, you’re able to start from each level that you’ve reached, with your highest score, and lives in-tact. 
As you play through each of the 7 levels, you’ll be able to collect either blue/star or red/heart colors and items. In order to go for a high score, you’ll need to decide which color you want to stick with while going through the stages. As you collect more items from one of the two colors, your firepower will increase, as well as defensive powers; Hearts push back enemy projectiles around your ship, while Stars cause your own shots to push back enemy projectiles. As you collect more items of one color, more power-ups and extra lives will drop more often, but once you collect an item of the opposite color, the polarity is automatically shifted. 

 You’re given 3 different scores at the top of the screen, one for blue, one for red, and one for a combined score. Each of the scores increase depending on your current polarity, so if you’re using blue, your blue score will rise, and if you’re using red, your red score will rise. Both of these are combined together for your total score. Shooting down entire groups of enemies gives you bonuses, and destroying all of the flying enemies in each stage will give you an end of level bonus. 

The graphics and animations are typical of Minter’s past releases, but are not as incredibly crazy. You’re able to very clearly make out enemy ships, and background objects, but there is a psychedelic level to the images, with loads of stars or hearts flying out of your ship when your ship is fully powered up, or explodes, and the animations are reminiscent of Gridrunner. The controls, however, are a very tight and smooth relative touch control scheme at a 1:1 ratio. GameCenter is supported, and with 4 separate leader boards, one for each color, one for a pure run (starting on stage 1), and one for your combined score, as well as 10 achievements, it definitely adds to the already high replay value of the game. Priced at $1.99, and being a Universal build, Super Ox Wars is a fantastic, as well as cheap, polarity based shmup. Fans of the genre, and especially fans of Minter titles, should pick this one up. Though not as psychedelic graphically, and only containing one gameplay mode, it’s one of the most challenging Llamasoft games I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing, will definitely get loads of gameplay out of me and will wind up staying on my device for a long time.


i've never heard of jeff minter before thank you for reviewing this game. i love shooters i'll have to download this!

Eh, I think the game's graphics is outdated but I'm gonna try this out. I love games like this.

"i've never heard of jeff minter"

Second Generation games

Deflex (PC/VIC-20, 1981; iPod Touch/iPhone 3GS/iPad/iPhone 4, 2011) (A.K.A. Deflex V)
Centipede (ZX81, 1982)[14]
3D Labyrinth (VIC-20, 1982)
Abductor (VIC-20, 1982)
Andes Attack (VIC-20, 1982) (A.K.A. Defenda)
Bomb Buenas Aires (VIC-20, 1982; Atari ST, 1988) (A.K.A. Aggressor, Bomber, Blitzkrieg)
City Bomb (ZX Spectrum, 1982)
Gridrunner (Atari 2600/VIC-20/ZX Spectrum, 1982; C64, 1983)
Matrix: Gridrunner 2 (VIC-20, 1982; Atari 2600/C64, 1983; C16, 1986)
Rat Man (VIC-20, 1982)
Rox III (VIC-20/ZX Spectrum, 1982)
Super Deflex (ZX Spectrum, 1982)
Attack of the Mutant Camels (Atari 2600/C64, 1983) (UK: Advance of the Megacamel)
Attack of the Mutant Camels - Matrix Version (C64, 1983)
Headbangers Heaven (ZX Spectrum, 1983)
Hover Bovver (C64, 1983; Atari 2600, 1984)
Laser Zone (VIC-20/C64, 1983; C16, 1986)
Metagalactic Llamas Battle at the Edge of Time (VIC-20, 1983; C64, 1984) (A.K.A. Meta-Llamas)
Revenge of the Mutant Camels (C64, 1983)
Rox 64 (C64, 1983)
Traxx (VIC-20/ZX Spectrum, 1983)
Ancipital (C64, 1984)
Hellgate (VIC-20/C64, 1984)
Psychedelia (VIC-20/ZX Spectrum/C64/MSX, 1984) – A light synthesizer.
Sheep in Space (C64, 1984)[15]
Batalyx (C64, 1985)[16]
Colourspace (Atari 2600, 1985) – A light synthesizer.
Mama Llama (C64, 1985)
Yak's Progress (C64, 1985)
Iridis Alpha (C64, 1986)
Made in France II (C64, 1987)
Return of the Mutant Camels (C64, 1987; Atari 2600, 1988) (A.K.A. Revenge of the Mutant Camels 2)
Voidrunner (C64, 1987)

Third Generation games

Bombuzal (C64/Amiga/Atari ST, 1988; PC, 1989; SNES, 1990) - Minter designed one level
Trip-a-Tron (Amiga/Atari ST, 1988)
Super Gridrunner (Amiga, 1989; Atari ST, 1991)
Defender II (Amiga/Atari ST, 1990)
Photon Storm (Amiga/Atari ST, 1990)
Llamatron: 2112 (Amiga/Atari ST, 1991; PC, 1992)
Revenge of the Mutant Camels (enhanced re-release) (Amiga/Atari ST, 1991; PC, 1994)
Hardcore (Atari ST, 1992)

Fifth Generation games

Tempest 2000 (Atari Jaguar, 1994)
Virtual Light Machine (Atari Jaguar, 1994) (A.K.A. VLM-1)
Defender 2000 (Atari Jaguar, 1995)
Llamazap (Atari Falcon, 1995)
Tempest X3 (PS1, 1996) (credited only for Tempest 2000)
Tempest 3000 (Nuon DVD, 2000)
VLM-2 (Nuon DVD, 2000)
Gridrunner++ (PC, 2002)
Hover Bovver 2: Grand Theft Flymo (PC, 2002)

Sixth Generation games

Unity (GCN, Cancelled)

Seventh Generation games

Neon (Xbox 360, 2005) (A.K.A. VLM-3)
Space Giraffe (Xbox 360, 2007; PC, 2008)
Space Invaders Extreme (NDS/PSP, 2008; Xbox 360, 2009)
Gridrunner Revolution (PC, 2009)

Minotaur Project series: This series of iOS games pay homage to classic retro platforms. Each game is implemented as if running on a modernized version of the classic platform it represents.

Minotaur Rescue (iPod Touch/iPhone 3GS/iPad/iPhone 4, 2011)[9] (Represents the Atari 2600)
Minotron: 2112 (iPod Touch/iPhone 3GS/iPad/iPhone 4, 2011)[10] (Represents the Mattel Intellivision)
GoatUp (iPod Touch/iPhone 3GS/iPad/iPhone 4, 2011) (Represents the Sinclair Spectrum)
Caverns of Minos (iPod Touch/iPhone 3GS/iPad/iPhone 4/iPhone 4S) (Represents the Atari 8-bit family)
Gridrunner iOS (iPod Touch/iPhone 3GS/iPad/iPhone 4/iPhone 4S) (Represents arcade games of Namco System 86 era).
Five A Day (iPod Touch/iPhone/iPad) (Appears to represent the Commodore 64)
Super Ox Wars (iPod Touch/iPhone/iPad) An arcade game of the Xevious type - Llamasoft's first vertical scrolling shooter

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