Atari hasn't been having a particularly great time of it lately, with their Greatest Hits collections and XBLA revamps of ancient titles failing to set the critical world on fire.
However, embracing the lucrative freemium model with open arms, they've decided to call one of their classic mainstays back into the limelight with Asteroids Gunner. It's a brisk an shiny take on a venerable old warhorse, but does it back enough innovation and... well... free stuff to make it worth a download?
Over the course of 50 free waves (more on that later), you'll take to the asteroid-strewn space fields using the tried-and-true virtual twinstick shooting basics. Controlling your ship is a responsive breeze thanks to the tight controls, and you'll soon be splitting space rocks into smaller space rocks with merry abandon. Of course, Asteroids Gunner does nothing that other (better) apps have done before, but the occasional appearance of alien vessels and temporary powerups such as triple shots and claymore mines jazzes up the traditional formula, making it both appealing and engaging to a new audience.
You can also buy persistent upgrades to your vessel by collecting crystals, which boosts your firepower, durability and capacity for in-game upgrades. As most app players will know, this is a horrendously addictive draw that can keep you hooked for many hours. And, brilliantly, it's free.
So, what's the cash? I mean, catch. No, sorry, I do mean cash, since Asteroids Gunner locks the vast majority of its content away unless you're willing to part with real money. 100 extra waves, two extra ships and a full half of the upgrades can only be obtained by purchasing Space Bucks, meaning that what starts as a free experience can soon become incredibly expensive.
If you're a dedicated hater of all things freemium, much like our very own Lewis, Asteroids Gunner will cause your brain to explode in a cataclysmic outpouring of unadulterated rage. But the free content will probably last you an hour or two... so considering the quality on offer, it's probably worth a download.
You're probably better off just buying Space Miner, though.
- Capable twinstick action
- A reasonable amount of free content
- Getting the whole game is actually very expensive
- Better twinstick games are out there for a couple of quid
Summary: So long as you're strong-willed enough to resist the siren song of the IAPs, Asteroids Gunner is definitely worth a quick free download to tide you over for an hour or two.
Compatibility: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later
Price: Freemium - App Store