Humanity’s love affair with the flying saucer has been a
strange one. During the late 1940s, sci-fi began to explode and filled the
imaginations of many. Baby-boomers grew up surrounded by the idea of space
aliens, both and . My parents are baby-boomers and I, too, have shared
this fascination. I wasn’t just interested in the concept of space aliens, I
wanted a flying saucer of my own with or without the aliens. Having an
understanding of very basic aerodynamics at a young age, I took a shine to
anything that seemed to turn aerodynamics into a plaything. Recently, $30
bought such a for myself. Now $1.99 USD can buy your own flying
saucer adventure with
for the iPhone/Touch.
You may have guessed from the title that Saucelifter!
is a remake of
with a twist worthy of a B movie. Now you control a flying saucer! The original
Choplifter had you piloting a
helicopter in an attempt to rescue hostages from behind enemy lines. Saucelifter! has you rescuing your
crewmates after a peaceful visit to Earth goes wrong. Earth’s military is
holding them captive but your flying saucer’s rayguns will do your negotiating.
Logically, the game uses accelerometer controls to give you smooth tilt-control
over your craft and they work quite well. The controls recalibrate whenever the
game is paused which is a great feature. An arrow (which can be turned off)
floats around the saucer, indicating your craft’s current heading regardless of
momentum. You can fire rays straight down, left, and right (even all at once!)
using the iPhone/Touch’s multitouch screen and to aim you’ll need to tilt the
saucer and thus be moving (much like a helicopter). Differing from a
helicopter, the saucer is much more sturdy and can often safely bounce and
glance off of the ground. The game’s tutorial is a bit sparse but it teaches
you what you need to know. You must blast open bunkers, land carefully near the
escaping crewmates, pick them up, and fly them back to the teleporter, all the
while fighting off Earth’s military. The more crewmates you rescue, the more
defenses and offenses Earth will put on the field of battle.
After you lose three saucers, or rescue as many hostages as possible, the game
will end and your score will be tallied. There’s only one stage but it’s very
tough and has some very basic randomization to keep things fresh and
challenging. I’ve only beaten the stage once on normal mode, in all my
attempts, and my score had a lot of room for improvement. There’s also several
other difficulty levels. I was quite satisfied with the amount of game I was
getting for the price, yet I enjoyed it enough to want more. Luckily the
developer will be putting out an update (I love that iPhone/Touch developers do
this so much!) with “extra visual/sound effects, new enemies, and various
other improvements!” and im particularly pleased to see “new enemies”.
I’m not sure if online highscores are coming and the game currently lacks such
a feature. It’s something every such highscore-chasing game can benefit from.
This is another game that uses solid vector-based graphics (similar to )
to create a simple but beautiful retro look. I’ll admit I’m a sucker for this
style, but it’s one of the best visual styles that a game can have without
trying to go all-out on pixel art or 3D rendering. Still, the graphics engine
is no slouch and sports some cool rotation and particle effects at a nice
framerate. The sound effects are perfectly complimentary to the action,
featuring delightfully sci-fi movie-esque noises in fittingly lo-fi retro
style. Try landing with the saucer’s struts out while going too fast to the
left or right and the struts will spark while making a satisfying screeching
noise. There’s no music, but the sound-work makes up for this and the game
allows you to play your own music during.
Saucelifter! doesn’t do all that much
differently from Choplifter but it
does it well with a great style. I would definitely recommend this to fans of Choplifter and anyone interested in a
rescue mission action game that uses the accelerometer very well.