Two of iOS’ most prominent genres (that don’t involve matching together any number of gems) are vertical endless platformers, and dual-stick shooters. However, the paths of the two have rarely crossed…although the upcoming Volcano Escape from Bravo Game Studios is out to change this. In this game, you control the hapless Colonel Charlie Bravo, who went on a summer vacation…and then he got captured by some natives and chucked into a volcano. Oh no. However, not everything is as it seems, as apparently the natives have set up a labyrinth in the volcano to allow you to try and escape before the rising lava or one of the natives or strange creatures get to you. So, your goal is the same as in any endless vertical platformer: try to reach as great a height as possible before your eventual demise!

The controls interestingly take after dual-stick shooters more than vertical platformers. You have a joystick for movement, a joystick for firing in all directions around you, and a jump button. Along the way, you’ll pickup powerups like a shield, high jump, and jet pack, as well as additional weapons like a shotgun and grenade launcher, for taking out more of the enemies around you. You have a double jump and the ability to take up to 3 hits before dying, though lava and traps will kill you instantly. The game feels a bit like Contra’s vertical levels, with the mix of action gameplay and ascension-based platformers. The level designs are random, but tend to follow planned thematic shifts, like at a height of 700 (no unit is ever given), new types of enemies come into play and the levels start to involve more angled paths as well as platforms. When you kill enemies, they turn into molten rock, which can either serve as makeshift platforms, or as obstacles towards your further progress.

On the metagaming side, there’s Game Center support for achievements and leaderboards baked in, and you’ll see the names and scores of other players as you pass them. As well, you can challenge your Twitter followers and Facebook friends to play against you, and share your scores with them. You can unlock one of 5 characters, and an additional one will be available via in-app purchase. iPhone 4 and iPod touch 4th Generation owners will get to enjoy Retina Display support as well. Volcano Escape is releasing on February 17th, and we’ll have a full review of the game then.

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