Now here’s something I didn’t expect to see on the iPhone/iPad (and at the time I downloaded, it was completely free).
Phoenix HD is a classic vertical shooter which has been given a digital makeover to bring it bang up to date for modern audiences. Just one look of the screenshots whilst browsing the app store on my phone and jaw dropped, hit the download button in the hope that it would be as good as it looked. I wasn’t wrong!
Back home and on the bigger screen on my iPad, it looks simply stunning. But what about the game? Well, as a fan of the genre growing up with the likes of 1942, Gemini Wings and Xenon II (ok that last one on the Amiga was a bit crap but that bomb the bass signature tune certainly rocked!) this type of game has always appeal to me. Simple intense twitch gaming at it’s best.
Control of you ship is via touchscreen and it responds to you finger movements very well so there’s never any danger of feeling that you’ve lost control. With enemies coming at you wave after wave it’s a good thing that the firing your ships weapon systems is handled automatically. I suspect if not, many iPad screens would suffer 🙂
As you blown the crap out of everything that moves you can collect the green and yellow energy crystals dropped from your fallen foe which provides you with a much needed health top up. Other items dropped by your enemy will upgrade your weapons systems or provide your ship with time limited shields. Collect one of the super power ups and with a quick double finger tap on the screen, your ship fires a huge volley of immense power laying waste to all but the mightiest of ships.
Things start of pretty easy and the difficulty is steadily increased with some of the larger ships unleashing waves of screen filling bullet patterns that you have to dodge in and out and as you jump from one empty gap to another. It can get quite intense at times but the responsive touch screen control really comes into play here. If they’d got this wrong by just a little, it would have been unplayable.
I’ve always been a fan of these ‘bullet hell’ shooters like the Japanese arcade titles such as Batsugun, DonPachi and Ikaragu and Zero Gunner on the Sega Dreamcast. Let’s hope that Phoenix HD is the first of many stunning shooters to come to the iPad.