Wrestlefest Premium iOS review

If I simply listed to you the premise and features of THQ’s modern revamping of 90’s arcade classic WWF Wrestlefest, at the very least, you’d probably be like “sounds cool, dude”. Eight famous Wrestlers from various eras with more available every month as DLC, six different game zones, and four arenas. Couple this with online multiplayer and the fact that it has the same two-“button” and “joystick” control as the original, let's say you’re a wrestling fan, you’re probably foaming at the mouth at this very moment.

Unfortunately, it’s the execution that doesn’t really come through here. Firstly, the presentation is odd. Though it doesn’t exactly have the 16-bit-esque graphics of the original game, they do seem to be purposefully using a simplistic art style. This is strange, because not only are animations poorly done and jumpy, but all of the wrestlers are really doughy-looking instead the buff, brawny sprites you’d expect in a game about badass dudes. This is especially disappointing because the audience in the background is much more animated and fluid than the wrestlers, and the whole time I’m just like, why? Still, they do hit the retro aesthetic they’re trying for, and at least at first I was impressed with how authentically vintage the game feels.

The audio is similarly hit or miss. The music, while I don’t think it is the real 90’s soundtrack, is just as faux-retro as the graphics, though not so much so that it ever hurt my enjoyment of the game. In fact, at parts the music is catchy and fun, and succeeds at putting me in that old-school WWF mood I associate with a game like this. However, all other sound design is illogically and bizarrely bad. As soon as a round starts, all the music drops out and a looping canned audience sound begins, and literally drowns out everything else for the rest of forever. The announcer’s voice only intermittently breaks through as to be understandable, and even the sound effects for wrestlers punching, kicking, and throwing each other to the floor are reduced to mere whispers by the constant and thunderous applause. Headphones don’t help at all, and neither the BGM or SFX toggle in the options menu do anything to eliminate it. So either you have no sound, or it’s Audiene-Fest 2012 up in here 24/7.

The controls are easy enough to understand, but even allowing some amount of awkwardness for how crappy fake buttons and joysticks on a touchscreen always are, they’re still pretty stiff. Most of the time your wrestler does what you want him to pretty much as commanded, but not usually before rapidly touching the button you wanted to cleanly press for a half-second. In other words, they’re workable, but they never feel good, so take that one however you will.

Finally, the online component was a little disappointing. It has a bunch of great features like random matchmaking and local wireless, and it syncs pretty seamlessly with GameCenter, but I could almost never find someone to play with, and I when I did, there was a bunch of lag even with a perfect connection, and it was glitchy as all get-out.

Bottom line, Wrestlefest Premium is not so great, but if you loved the original game, or are a huge sucker for all things early 90’s wrestling, it’s worth the three bucks for a hour or two of weird nostalgia.

By Alex Faciane

Centipede: Origins review

When you think of the 80s, what comes to mind? Glam rock bands, Journey, Ghostbusters, Slimer Ecto Cooler Hi-C, Super Mario Bros., Bon Jovi, the Reebok Pump, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Trapper Keepers, and for a large number of gamers, Centipede. Apple has made a killing marketing products to people who are bringing the 80s back and making it mainstream. While it doesn't look like Slimer Ecto Cooler Hi-C is making a comeback any time soon, Atari has re-envisioned Centipede for iPhone owners for a dollar. The product: Centipede: Origins.

centipede origins iOS

In Centipede: Origins, you play as a garden gnome that uses an array of weapons and power-ups to take out waves of bugs and a mushroom infestation. Some bugs move swiftly at you in a straight line, while others zig zag their way through the mushroom field, which acts as an obstacle and blocks your shots. It takes some skill and quick manuevering with your fingers to survive.

If you're a fan of the original game, you'll feel right at home and love Centipede: Origins. Controlling your gnome is handled through moving your finger around the bottom of the screen, and as long as your finger is touching the screen, your gnome will be firing his weapon. Boosts and special weapons, like making you shoot faster or placing a plant turret that eats bugs as they pass by, are activated by simply pressing on their symbol at the bottom of the screen. Once activated, they go on cooldown until they become available again. Before each game, you choose which boosts and upgrades you want to use by purchasing them with coins you get for leveling up through exp points, completing achievements, and collecting coins. You can also upgrade these boosts in the store.

centipede origins store

While you won't earn coins fast enough to get to a godly state too quickly, you can purchase coins with real money — at no point is that ever needed, though. There are four different levels for you to tackle, and while they each play a little different, the basic mechanics of each are the same. My favorite in Bumpkinpatch Aerial. The level select screen will also keep track of your highest core, multiplier and number of waves defeated on each of the levels. The game also has leaderboards and achievements so you can easily see what other goals you have and how you stack up compared to other players.

The visuals are not spectacular, but they have some nice color and pop to them. The music is whimsical and cutesy, but after a while I had to turn the sound down because it was getting to me.

centipede origins

I did have some issues with responsiveness, both in the menus and in the game itself. Sometimes I would click to go into the store or play a game; it would show me tapping the correct area, but wouldn't respond how it should. After multiple tries it would bring me to my required screen. Also, in-game responsiveness was an issue at times. If I took my finger off the screen and placed it down again, the gnome wouldn't respond. He wouldn't shoot or move — he'd just sit there.

All in all, Centipede: Origins is a fun, little time killer, and fans of Centipedes games will have fun with it. It can be challenging, as well — even for more experienced bug killers. For only a buck, what do ya got to lose? And gnomes are proof that good things can come in small packages.

You can follow Movies and Culture Editor Lance Liebl on Twitter @Lance_GZ

By Lance Liebl

Review: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City iOS makes a glorious, cheap return on the mobile front

It's been ten years since Grand Theft Auto: Vice City came out for the PlayStation 2. Think about that. Ten years ago, Rockstar Games redefined open-world action/adventure – again – but this time with an 80's theme that was undeniably loyal. Hell, Philip Michael Thomas from Miami Vice was in the game. The experience doesn't go any deeper than that.

Now that same game has been crammed down into a mobile experience, as Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is now available for iPad, iPhone and other devices for a meager five bucks. Unless you're one of those people that just doesn't like to have fun in video games, you have no reason to pass over this.

Vice

The game revolves around Tommy Vercetti, lovingly voiced by Ray Liotta, who's merely trying to survive in the underworld of 80's Miami. He's completing various missions for people left and right while keeping out of harm's way, and, of course, stealing vehicles and getting in a few fistfights along the way. Your job – essentially, take over the city's criminal element and make it your own. Obviously not everyone is going to be thrilled with your approach…

Earlier this year, Grand Theft Auto III also came to the mobile market, with mostly strong results. Vice City somehow tops it in a number of ways, mainly with presentation. The graphics in this HD transfer are quite remarkable, especially if you've got an iPhone 5 or higher-end iPad, as the textures really pop to life, especially going off into the distance. The animation is also impressive, even if Tommy does look a little sluggish during melee confrontations. No matter – he can still get the job done.

Vice

And all of the radio stations are intact, complete with classic 80's tracks from a variety of bands (it's weird hearing Talk Talk again) and the DJ's that run them with sweet efficiency and personality. The voice acting is stellar across the board, as you'll hear everyone from Thomas and Liotta to the likes of Burt Reynolds and Dennis Hopper. It's surreal, and they really lend a lot to their characters.

But, really, it all comes down to gameplay, and Vice City has a little bit more to offer than GTA III did, surprisingly enough. The controls are touch-screen, so you've got a little bit of adjusting to do when you first start it up. However, after just a couple of missions, you'll become quite comfortable with them, especially as you get into high speed pursuits with the police and beat some thugs down relentlessly with a bat. We prefer an old-school controller, but this is hardly an unlikable control set-up.

Vice

And for five bucks, Vice City will keep you VERY busy. Along with various missions to complete around the city and places to buy up for your own, you'll also have fun tracking down hidden packages and getting into all sorts of trouble, even if you're just hopping into a car and mowing down pedestrians. (There could be more of them running around the city in the game – the body count is slightly lower here – but overall it's still fun.)

If you haven't experienced Vice City yet, you won't find a better opportunity to do so. And even if you have, this walk (or rather, trample) down memory lane is worth revisiting. Now let's see how the forthcoming San Andreas port fares…we'll bet it's the best one of all.

By Robert Workman

Quarrel Review

Those of you with iOS devices might already be familiar with the game Quarrel. For me, it was an entirely new game. Knowing little about the game before actually playing it, I assumed it would be your typical Xbox LIVE boring board game. So you can imagine the surprise, and joy, when I booted it up to find out it was a mix of two of my favorite games — Scrabble and Risk.

Quarrel, at it's core, is an anagram game. You are given eight letters, each assigned a point value, and are tasked with spelling a word worth the most points. Similar to Scrabble, less common letters like "J" and "V" are worth more. Spell a word worth more points than your opponent and you win that round.

Here's the catch, and the part where Risk lovers like myself will find great joy and strategy in the game. Each Quarrel match takes place on an island map divided into an even amount of territories, with each player receiving an equal amount of troops. Each individual soldier you have represents a letter you can use when battling the opponent. Obviously, the more soldiers you have, the better chance you have of scoring more points. For instance, if you have 8 soldiers and your opponent as 4, not only do you have a chance of scoring more points by using more letters, but you also have the chance of actually solving the anagram — something the person with only 4 letters won't be able to do.

If you are the attacker and beat your opponent, you will conquer their territory and shift all but one of your soldiers into it. On the other hand, if you successfully defend your territory from an attacker, you will take their soldiers as prisoners and be able to use them towards your 8 letter count. As gameplay evolves, it really becomes a strategic cat-and-mouse game. Is it better to attack and conquer, or defend and try to build up forces? From a personal standpoint, my best wins have come from "turtling" or playing defensively.

Don't automatically assume because you have more letters you are guaranteed a victory. There were numerous matches where I've seen 4 letters upset 7 or 8 letters. It's all about the point value. If you use the more rare letters, there's a good chance you can outscore your opponent who may spell a longer, but simpler word. Be warned, if you attack with more soldiers than the defender and lose, he will take your attackers as prisoner. This is just one of the many ways the momentum in a game can swing abruptly.

Quarrel is about more than spelling. It's about spelling the less common words and strategically planning when to attack and when to defend. Those with a competitive mentality will find this game easily fills that niche.

A basic round consists of this — all players take turns attacking the enemy's territories. As an attacker you can choose to attack an adjacent territory, reinforce one of your own adjacent territories, or just skip your turn completely and collect your reinforcements. It should be noted, after your round as attacker your territories are bolstered with one extra soldier.

As a defender, your best hope is to just outwit the attacker and capture his soldiers. After you successfully attack or defend, you are rewarded points which go towards filling up a meter that offers a reward of one extra soldier to assist in future battles. If you are playing a game with more than two players, those not involved in the conflict still participate in the challenge to solve the anagram. Your results will have no bearing on the combat, but the points will still count towards your meter. Unfortunately, even with the challenge of solving the anagram, sitting on the sidelines and watching the action can get quite boring.

There are several different modes that vary in gameplay style, but all focus around this same gameplay concept of attack and defense. Domination mode is a series of matches that range from one-one-one battles to four-player face-offs — all with the goal of dominating the islands of Quarrel. Challenge mode is split into four different sections focusing on different aspects of the game like capturing four territories in a row or stealing a set number of prisoners. Showdown mode is for those of you who want one-on-one action. In this mode you will fight through the entire tier of AI competitors from the not-too-bright Dwayne to the dreaded Kali.

You'd think a game like this would go easy on you, but some of these NPCs are merciless. If you were thinking this is a kids game, you are wrong. Kali shows no mercy; she is both fast and intelligent. You will need a wide vocabulary to conquer her (or you'll need to cheat). Each NPC has a set personality that reflects in their gameplay style. Some are just plain dumb, while others are slower, but will take their time to spell great words. At times though, the game just feels impossible. It's a little frustrating, but it just makes winning that much more rewarding.

Of course, with a game like this, it all comes down to online multiplayer. In the limited experience I've had with multiplayer, I can tell you it has been some of the most stressful, fun, competitive games I've played in quite a while. The majority of matches last around 20-30 minutes, but I did have some that went into the hour-long range (I'd like to point out that I won a match with the anagram "Fishcake"). Like I mentioned, the constant momentum swing can lead to long games, but in the end, it makes the competitive juices flow more freely. Who wants to lose a match after 60 minutes? Like most online competitive games, you have the ability to player ranked matches or some more "casual" matches.

While single-player does offer a challenge, the human fallibility in multiplayer is what makes it great. In most cases, you know what you're getting with the NPCs. You know Kali won't crack under pressure. You know Dwayne won't be too bright (but you know that from his trucker hat). Humans on the other hand, well let's just say the pressure of the ticking clock can sometimes cause you to fold. It's happened to me.

Despite it's competitive nature, Quarrel has a charming look and feel to it. Between the vibrant colors, loopy sounds, and quirky soldiers, Quarrel has a sort of Spongebob innocence to it. You can't help but feel bad for the little minions when they get beat down 8 letters to 2.

At times, the animations do get tedious and you'll want to just skip them, which unfortunately you aren't able to do. Sometimes you just want a quick match, and having to sit through the soldiers pouncing on the others can get a little repetitive and slow down the game. An added skip action would be welcomed.

I never played the iPhone version so I can't comment on how well the game translates over to Xbox, but I can say the controls were smooth and fluid. It's easy to delete letters or the entire word, as well as select the letters you need. Though the timed clock gives some added pressure when having to scroll through each letter to form your word. It took some getting used to when reinforcing soldiers. Sometimes it can get a little tricky with the directional pad sending them to the right territory. Of course, that's just a minor nitpick. After a few games you'll get used to it.

Overall, Quarrel is a charming, fun game that will definitely challenge your wits — and is a very affordable 400 Microsoft Points. With great replay value and matches that will always keep you on the edge of your seat, Quarrel is easily one of the better investments on Xbox LIVE.

By Matt Liebl

Review: Street Fighter X Tekken iOS is a step in the right direction for the mobile fighting genre

One can argue the fighting genre wouldn’t be the same without the Street Fighter games. Yes, I remember going to the arcade, throwing in some quarters and throwing down on Street Fighter as a kid. For some, Street Fighter is the best, period. Now, with technology blooming, the Street Fighter series tries to find its identity in the mobile world with the help of a few familiar faces from Tekken in Street Fighter X Tekken for iOS devices.

Obviously, Street Fighter X Tekken for the iPhone is the watered down, mobile version of the console games with the same name. As iPhones and everything i-related has taken over the world, it seems more and more “big titles” are coming to the mobile scene. Capcom has been an early adopter of good mobile games with many Street Fighter games already available. But how does Street Fighter X Tekken stack up in the ever-growing mobile game world?

Street Fighter X Tekken Mobile Screen

Street Fighter X Tekken is going to be a lot of what you’re used to and have seen before. However, Capcom hasn’t released a truly immersive fighting experience on mobile devices. I think they come close on this one. Street Fighter X Tekken lets you take control of 10 characters from the two franchises, five from each franchise. From the characters available, players will choose two fighters for your team with every battle consisting of a 2 vs. 2 mentality. There are two modes available, which include the standard single-player mode and Global Battle (multiplayer mode) with most of your fun being available through online multiplayer or Bluetooth battles if you have friends that want to battle it out locally.

In short, it’s not bad, but it does need some work. Let’s start with the good. Visually, it is pleasing to the eye. It’s no Infinity Blade, but in my opinion, it’s one of the better looking games on the iPhone and possibly the best-looking Street Fighter game available for iOS. The backgrounds aren’t just static backgrounds. They are animated and to just the right level where it’s not distracting to the player, but instead adds to the environment in a way that immerses you more into the game.

Street Fighter X Tekken Screenshot In addition to nice visual aesthetics, Street Fighter X Tekken does a nice job mashing up the two franchises to create one of the most solid fighting games for mobile devices. It feels like a solid Street Fighter title without the complexities of standard fighting controls. The controls have finally taken a step in the right direction making it a lot simpler to actually play a fighting game of this caliber on a touch screen. It is possible for hardcore fighting fans to turn their back on this title because of this, but for the more casual, it’s nice to be able to land some epic moves comfortably. But for you hardcore peeps out there, there is still an option to change the controls to the half circle techniques if your heart so desires.

The game also implements a new Pandora’s Box mechanic. Although, it is definitely a risk to use. It is a welcomed and unique addition to the game. By sacrificing your teammate, you’re allowed a brief power up of different abilities including Immense Power, quickness, etc. From my experience, I didn’t see many strong players using the option, but it’s nice to have it there in case you need it.

Street Fighter X Tekken Screenshot 2Where this game stumbles is it’s extreme lack of content. It falters on a couple of levels in this aspect. First, you will notice Street Fighter X Tekken only offers 10 characters. With other Street Fighter titles already offering significantly more characters than 10, it’s a travesty that this title doesn’t offer more characters especially considering this title has characters from both Street Fighter and Tekken. With two franchises at your disposal, the game should absolutely have more than 10 playable characters.

Outside of playable characters, there just isn’t that much to do. With essentially only two playable modes, you’ll find yourself gravitating toward online multiplayer where a bulk of your fun will be had.Also, there had been some complaints with online multiplayer lagging. However, with a strong connection, the online multiplayer will be your favorite mode in this game without a doubt. Obviously, any game will suffer with a slow connection. Most players should have a fast enough connection to throw thousands of hadokens against thousands of players.

Street Fighter X Tekken is a great buy for $2.99. It has extremely fun gameplay and nice visuals. Will you get tired of it quickly though? It’s possible with the lack of content that it currently offers. However, it is absolutely one of the most smooth and easy-to-play fighters available to date. Definitely give it a shot at $2.99. However, if you decide to battle me online, don’t forget to block my mad street fighting skills. HADOKEN!

By Heath Hooker

WorldCup Cricket Fever review

Gamezone Review Rating
4.0
Below Average

As a sports fan, a genuinely passionate one at that, two sports have always caught my eye for their unusual play styles: cricket and rugby. Cricket seemingly takes after baseball, but offers several major tweaks in terms of the field, equipment (or lack thereof), and "base" running. Nevertheless,WorldCup Cricket Feverhas unleashed onto the iOS marketplace and attempts to offer a realistic cricket experience. DoesUTV Indiagames rock a solid hit with Fever or an embarrassing swing and miss?

Like previous titles from UTV, Fever aims to offer short, action-packed matches through realistic gameplay. Fever's problem, though, begins with its intent. The game features little explanation on how to control both bowling and hitting; if you want to learn the game of cricket through an extensive rule book, look elsewhere because Fever fails to layout the ground rules for this somewhat confusing sport. Once you catch on to the hitting and bowling aspects, matches become a little more exciting, but the lack of fielding controls makes you feel like you're barley affecting the outcome of each bowl or swing.

Surprisingly, the game offers a variety of detailed venues where over a dozen teams from around the world can duke it out (sorry, no North American squad). These squads feature generic player names with bodies that look a little less blocky than aMinecraftcharacter. UTV's decision to use the same engine from past games reveals itself through these horrid player models that move like freshly-greased robots. In addition, Fever features no commentating (at all) — simply put, these matches become boring quickly.

As stated earlier, these matches are designed to be played in quick spurts. Because of this, Fever offers a thin amount of game modes; the three-over matches truly are the main component of the title. A career mode or simple franchise mode would have helped offer players a more in-depth dive with Fever's intentions, but sadly, you're left with little on your plate.

Overall,WorldCup Cricket Feveroffers the bare minimum for cricket fans. Bowling and hitting controls are firm and vastly improved, but outside of that, you'll find little that hasn't been done before. One of the best things about sporting titles are that they offer newcomers a chance to learn the sport through practice and rules, but Fever throws you into the wolves without any true knowledge of what is going on. If you're a cricket fan and are looking for a game to hold you over while you're waiting for the train, then definitely take a look at what Fever has to offer, but for hardcore fans and "noobs," pick up a rule book and order the cricket TV channel.

Tags: Cricket, review, iPhone, iOS, Worldcup Cricket Fever

By Tate Steinlage

Infinity Blade II Review (iOS)

When the original Infinity Blade debuted on iOS devices last year, it really pushed forward the mobile gaming market. The way it produced unmatchable visuals for the iPad and iPhone platforms was really a thing of beauty. Even though the gameplay wasn’t anywhere near what, say, Dark Souls had to offer, it provided enough hack-and-slash fun to make the game a best seller. Still, there were some quirks we had to get over, like the lack of variety in enemies and such. However, Chair Entertainment has appeared to address them all with Infinity Blade II, a much mightier game than the original.

The premise is about the same as the first, but we’re not complaining. You take on the role of Siris, a knight seeking to vengeance his father’s death by bringing down a mighty oppressor by the name of the God King. Like any good journey, though, there are huge assortments of enemies you’ll have to overcome, and even when you reach the final battle, he’s so overpowered that you may not be able to take him. But there’s the glory of reincarnation and the ability to come back, build yourself up with better skills and weapons, and eventually get to the point that the King will fall to your metal boots. Maybe.

Infinity Blade 2

Where Infinity Blade followed a pretty straight and narrow path, the sequel actually branches out. You can go the quickest route possible to get to the God King, but the beauty of the game lies in seeing where its multiple paths take you, and what enemies and treasures are waiting for you. This is a game that not only asks for repeat plays, but practically commands them, just so you can get the most experience out of it. Some of the encounters are well worth taking on, especially larger enemies that damn near fill the screen. (Don’t worry, you can still take them down with natural hack-and-slash attacks, and maybe a little magic for good measure.)

Gameplay still requires the trial-and-error treatment, as you wait to pull off a defensive technique on an incoming enemy, then strike back with all the fury you possibly can. The game thrives on its touch-screen-based gameplay, and it works just as well as the original, if not better. You can charge certain attacks for extra strength, or you can call upon a magic attack if you find yourself in a bind or can’t get over a certain enemy’s strikes.

That being said, where Infinity Blade II’s replayability really lies is in its weapon loadout. There are a number of cool tools you can use here, like a battle-axe that requires both hands (but boosts your strength) or the option of double wielding, which speeds up your attacks but leaves you mildly defenseless. This also adds to the game’s replay value, as you’ll be curious to see which type of combat works best for you. No matter which way you go, though, you’ll be thoroughly pleased at how well it’s executed.

Once you finish each battle in brilliant, bloody fashion, you’ll score valuable XP, which you can then turn around to level up your warrior. This was a huge part of the first game, and it seems even more pivotal here, as you’ll need to boost yourself up rather well in order to even be a serviceable opponent to the God King. You’ll spend hours just trying to find the best customization possible – a sign of a long-lasting game, to be sure.

Another reason to explore everything Infinity Blade II has to offer is the visuals. You’ll love how this game looks on your iPad 2 display, with little details standing out in the environments and absolutely breathtaking animation on the enemies. The camera view makes it easy to see what’s happening in each battle, and the menus show you exactly where you can level up and other options. iOS-based games really don’t look much better than this. They don’t sound much better either, as the audio is top notch, between the dramatic music cues and the headphone-worthy sound effects.

Infinity Blade 2

Infinity Blade II’s performance does skimp quite a bit on older devices, as the game crashed every so often on the iPad and iPhone. It was obviously built with the newer ones in mind when it comes to playing at its best. Just something to keep in mind before you plunk down that $6.99.

Everyone else, though, shouldn’t hesitate. Like the original game, Infinity Blade II is a testament to the raw power of Apple’s devices, and a wondrous game filled with addictive gameplay and the kind of elements that will really draw you in for hours at a time. Plus, those visuals…you’d be hard pressed to confuse this for an HD-based console game. Kudos to Chair Entertainment for keeping this Blade on the sharp side.

Now…how about that Shadow Complex 2?

By Robert Workman

RayStorm review (iPad/iOS)

Out of all of Taito’s classic shooters, aside from the Space Invaders offerings, I really have an admiration for RayStorm. First released on the PS One long ago (through Working Designs), the game’s grown on me with its Zuntana-produced soundtrack, strong 3D graphics (running at 60 frames-per-second — no small feat for such a detailed shooter) and plenty of action on two levels of play.

Since that time, RayStorm has seen a pair of re-releases. It made its way to Xbox Live Arcade months ago in high-definition format with good results, and now it’s available on the Apple App Store for iPad and iPhone models, the latest in Taito’s retro releases. While the cost is questionable, the fun you’ll have with this shooter certainly isn’t.

Raystorm

In the game, you’re a lone spaceship (out of select models available) fighting against the nasty Secilia Federation, who have plans for Earth. Your attacks are divided between blasting enemies in the skies and locking on to targets below. It’s a variation of the Xevious process, but the lock-on lasers for both models work more effectively than Namco’s game did. Furthermore, you also have a special attack that you can charge up, obliterating all targets on-screen with very little effort. (We recommend saving it for bosses, as they can be tough hombres.)

Taito has modified RayStorm to work with touch-screen gameplay, and it’s very responsive, though you have to hold your device in wide-screen format to play it. That’s for the better, as you’ve got more room to maneuver your ship that way. In addition, the company has thrown in a slew of options, including separate Arcade and iPhone Modes. These not only have their own settings and stage select screens, but completely different Zuntana soundtracks, including a sweet remixed one. (The original is good, too.)

The game also supports GameCenter, so you can post your best scores to compare with others and unlock Achievements for certain areas of the game. Sadly, that’s about it on extras, and for a game that sells for around nine bucks, that may be a bit much to ask for.

Still, RayStorm retains every bit of its retro-flavored splendor, especially in the graphics. What they lack in the high-definition polish that most Cave shooters have these days, they make up for with well-restored graphics from the original game, as well as good-looking explosions and an array of backgrounds to fly through. Deep space is particularly my favorite, as you can obliterate ships from a distance with lock-on lasers while still contending with forces right in front of you.

RS 2

If you’re a shooter fan who has collected every shmup in the Cave collection among other available titles, RayStorm will fit right in your collection — right alongside its prequel, RayForce. The high price and lack of extras or HD support might have some of you thinking it’s a bit too ancient, but better to restore something that was fine the way it was rather than tinker with it and screw it up. Now we just hope that RayCrisis gets equal treatment somewhere down the line…

By Robert Workman