Well, we’ve had a completely mixed bag of app reviews this week. We kicked off with Guess the Emoji (completely fine), and followed up with 2048 (which was less a review, more a rant about Threes! clones).
Wrapping up the week we have – to use its full title – Phoenix HD – A Modern Arcade Shmup by Firi Games, available as a free download from the App Store.
Despite being promoted on the App Store’s Featured tab, Phoenix HD is actually – hold onto your hats – almost three years old, and as such I imagine it’s a significantly slicker package than it was upon first release.
In a nutshell, Phoenix HD is a “bullet hell” shooter in the vein of DoDonPachi, Ikaruga et al. While your ship fires automatically, you’re simply tasked with weaving in and out of the many, many enemy projectiles by dragging your finger around. Easier said than done.
There aren’t any levels, as such, in Phoenix HD. Each outing takes the form of a single, balls-out endurance run, with the ultimate goal of racking up a colossal score.
Nicely, Phoenix HD features local leaderboards, so, for example, I can see where I sit in Glasgow, but similarly I can zoom out and see how I’ve fared against the rest of Scotland, the UK, Europe, and indeed the entire world.
Phoenix HD is, again, free to download, but the in-app purchases are perfectly pitched, so be prepared to part with £3.99.
See, there are six additional ships for 99p each, and each of those ships has a unique attribute (the Mirage has a gigantic laser, Trinity can teleport, the Phantom can go into Ghost Mode…), and – in a neat twist – its own leaderboard, so you’re always on a level playing field.
That’d be £5.94 to unlock all Phoenix HD ships, however the developers will throw all six your way for the bonus price of £3.99, and throw in a Coin Tripler worth £1.49. As such, it’s difficult to say no.
Speaking of coins, they fund single-use power-ups such as Vulcan Drone, a drone that attacks enemy ships, and Phoenix Revive, which yields an extra life.
And that’s Phoenix HD. A rather sexy package, all in all, but being a DoDonPachi fan, it doesn’t quite measure up, Cave’s effort featuring distinct levels, more unique backgrounds, over-the-top boss encounters, and a suitably ridiculous storyline.
But hey, DoDonPachi carries a fairly lofty price tag (£9.99 for Resurrection HD), and Phoenix HD is free, so it’s tough to complain.
- Bullet hell is awesome
- Fairly over-the-top
- Six unique ships to master
- A level structure would’ve been nice...
- ...and some proper bosses
- It’s not DoDonPachi
Summary: Phoenix HD is perhaps best described as an endless runner variant of bullet hell games like DoDonPachi. Sound good? It is.
Developer: Firi Games
Price: free @ App Store
Compatibility: Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.