Luke Schneider's Radiangames is reknowned as one of the leading lights of the Xbox Live Indie development scene... but he recently left the service because Microsoft's platform just wasn't earning him any money. Even though they should be incentivising their devs to work on Win7 titles. Fools.
Still, Microsoft's loss is our gain, as Schneider is now free to bring his visually exceptional and exciting games over to iOS. Super Crossfire HD will hopefully be the first of many, and it's one hell of a good start.
In case you're unaware of the premise, Super Crossfire superficially resembles a Space Invaders clone. You control a small spaceship at the bottom of the screen using an incredibly responsive slider, with the aim of destroying the leagues of alien invaders that spawn into the centre of the screen. Automatic fire allows you to concentrate on weaving through their incoming barrage and maximising the number of points you attain.
But there's a twist. A simple tap flips your ship between the base and the top of the screen, essentially providing you with an entirely new perspective on the action. This powerful skill allows you to phase through incoming projectiles and even the enemies themselves, putting you in a perfect position to rain death on their undefended flanks.
As well as hilariously outfoxing your foes, you'll also need to rely on this ability to take down some of the more cunning enemies who project powerful shields or directional hazards. It's the perfect example of a simple mechanic that delivers an obscene amount of hidden strategic depth.
Every five levels, you'll stop into an upgrade menu that serves as a well-earned break and checkpoint. Your upgrades can be used to improve every aspect of your craft, from your shot damage, speed, and health to practically anything in between. Being able to tailor your spaceship to your own gameplay style offers another level of depth and compulsive draw that puts Super Crossfire up there with the iOS shooter greats.
Collecting gem pickups powers up your super attack, which is as horrendously devastating and immediately satisfying as it sounds. Unlike the feeling of helplessness you get when playing Space Invaders and its ilk, Super Crossfire makes you feel like a powerful predator who's more than capable of taking on the alien invasion all by yourself.
Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that Super Crossfire looks absolutely beautiful. Pin-sharp visuals and acres of retina-melting neon make the experience glorious to behold, and since it's universal, you can be guaranteed of a visceral thrill ride regardless of your choice of platform. I would personally recommend the iPad, though, since the enlarged play area allows the visuals to really shine.
- Mixes classic shooting action with innovative depth
- Fluid and slick, perfect controls
- Mindblowing visuals
- Microsoft missed the chance for a major Windows Phone 7 headliner!
Summary: Super Crossfire HD is the definitive version of a fantastic shooter. Expect satisfying, eyepopping and technically perfect thrills.
Compatibility: Universal: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1.3 or later.
Price: £1.99 - App Store