iPhone/Touch seemed to come out of nowhere on the gaming front. It’s a
device that has a more advanced touch screen than the DS, graphics
capabilities that seem to be close to that of the PSP, and a precise
accelerometer that has it even challenging the Wii’s capabilities.
Perhaps the best parts of all are its install base and Apple’s fairly
open AppStore. The sheer amount of developers, and ease of development
and distribution means more and more great games are popping up. Games
like Blue Defense! and Blue Attack! are further solidifying the iPhone/Touch as a genuine and formidable gaming platform.
Blue Defense! is a simple arcade shmup with a unique twist (literally) that could possibly be compared to a game like Missle Command.
Your objective in the game is simple, defend the Blues’ planet and its
population from the incoming Red invaders bent on genocide. To do this,
you will control a rapidly firing anti-air (or space?) gun that can
quickly move around the entire circumference of the planet.
is where the “twist” comes in. Your gun always points upward based upon
your iPhone’s/Touch’s accelerometer. You must actually rotate the
device to aim. At first, this is rather simple. At first, the Red
invaders attack only a very small part of the Blues’ planet. Very
quickly they’ll begin to strike on multiple fronts. The screen will
actually pan and rotate based upon where they’re attacking, forcing you
to rotate your device more quickly. Things become quite frantic as they
will sometimes have you completely surrounded. The game ends when the
population of the Blues’ planet reaches zero. As long as there’s at
least 2 Blues left, the population will slowly increase.
game is extremely reminiscent of older arcade shmups. From its simple
but pretty phosphorescent-like graphics to its simple but addictive and
somewhat unique gameplay. It was recently updated, as well, to make
quick play more streamlined. You can now challenge any specific level
(45 in all) or choose what wave to start the game on. This was a good
descision as the game is not especially deep and best when played in
quick bursts. Still, it’s a good little game especially at the price of
$0.99 USD. If you’re still not sure, there’s a lite (demo) version available on the AppStore.
Blue Attack! is a sequel (or prequel?) to Blue Defense! and is a decidedly deeper game with very different gameplay. This time the game is an arena shmup (like Geometry Wars) but with more strategizing than the average game in the genre. In ways this makes it comparable to Space Invaders Get Even, although Blue Attack! stands apart in several aspects. The gameplay Blue Attack!
centers around protecting a giant Blue carrier, on its way to attack
the Reds’ planet. You are armed with a ship and multiple wingmen at
your sides in toggleable formations. You control them via either tilt
or touch controls. I prefer the tilt controls and they work fairly well.
Reds will try to attack the carrier and will throw several types of
enemies at it. The game is over when your carrier is destroyed or you
lose all your ships. The enemies are often large and made up of
multiple destructible segments with a core that must be destroyed to
kill them. After each level you can use your acquired resources to
upgrade your ships and purchase items and weapons. My favorite weapon
is the “Force Blast” which is much like the “Force Push” in Star Wars.
Not only can it deter enemies but it actually temporarily moves the
non-critical parts on enemies, allowing you to expose the core.
Aesthetically the game is very similar to Blue Defense!, again utilizing the simple but attractive glowing graphics style. Being a more complex game, Blue Attack! is slightly more expensive than Blue Defense! but it’s still only $1.99 USD, a great deal to be sure!
The games aren’t without flaws, of course. Blue Attack!
relies on some touch screen icons for item and ability usage. They can
be a bit finicky but ultimately they work well enough. Also, the game
features a cool infinite mode that makes it play a bit more like Geometry Wars but with upgrades. However, I found its difficulty to ramp up a bit too slowly. Blue Defense! is possibly a bit too simple. Some upgrade options, like those found in Blue Attack!,
might have been nice but in some ways simple can be better. I should
mention the developer is very open to feedback and has already taken
some into account with the latest game updates.
Both games are very polished, especially for indie games, with nice
GUIs and online highscores. You needn’t worry about having to exit
mid-game either, as the games will resume where you left off. The games
even feature some catchy and haunting synth tunes. If I had to pick
one, I’d recommend Blue Attack! but the games go great together, Blue Defense! being more reflexive and Blue Attack! being more strategic. I consider Blue Attack! to be one of the best iPhone/Touch games yet, and Blue Defense! is a good companion game.