Version Reviewed: 1.0.2
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According to the Law of Continuation, humans have an innate desire to organize their world. Our brains try to organize information and time to make meaningful order from what we see. We have an innate need to create order in our lives, as demonstrated by the popularity of previously-released line-drawing games in the app store, such as Flight Control and Harbor Master.
In the past, these line-drawing games have met much success in the app store. Prior to the release of AirStrike Defense, these popular line-drawing games focused on the use of drawing lines to manage time and create order in a potentially chaotic situation. AirStrike Defense takes this concept and expands on it, re-defining its genre by interweaving mission-based, RTS tactical game play involving naval ships and fighter jets within one game concept, using a variety of different combat missions.
AirStrike Defense offers several features not previously found in popular line-drawing games:
• Innovative line-drawing game play with RTS action tactics
• Destroy enemy ships with air strikes and bombing runs
• Navigate your ships to safety while evading enemy attacks
• Collect points and unlock special attack units for extra firepower
• Complete naval and flight training, and then advance through battle in numerous campaign missions
• Multiple game play modes
• Innovative instant-switch battle system
• Player rank system and upgrades
• OpenFeint leader boards and achievements
AirStrike Defense features a variety of air and sea vessels and game play is divided into two levels of play: Easy and Normal. In Easy mode, achievements are disabled, while in Normal mode they’re enabled.
While the game only has one campaign mode, playable in Easy and Normal, it consists of 20 different missions. Players can revisit levels to achieve higher scores, which are integrated into OpenFeint. The game also contains a military “ranking” system which increases in “grade” as players score more points and unlock achievements.
Missions are classified by three different modes:
- Attack Mode, where players bomb their enemy’s fleet using one of several attack aircraft. Players guide their aircraft over enemy ships using touch-controls, dropping bombs on the enemy fleet using timing and anticipation.
- Defend Mode, where players guide a series of naval vessels to a pre-determined goal area/safety zone, while picking up/evading various obstacle/ ability/health points, such as sea mines and hostile, overhead bombing by enemy aircraft.
- Battle Mode, where players engage in tactical warfare involving air and sea vessels. Players actively attack enemy targets while protecting their sea vessels, by moving (and keeping) them out of harm’s way.
The touch controls, while not perfect, are intuitive and work very well. Players simply touch a ship/aircraft then draw a line/path representing where they want the vessel to go. Ships can be moved forwards or backwards in the same manner, but ships moving in reverse do so at a slower pace. While controls are the same for both types of craft, the aircraft’s interface is more convoluted.
As stated earlier, battle missions require the player to alternate between ship movement and aircraft movement. This is accomplished by tapping icon in the upper, right corner of the screen. When your sea vessels are under attack, the icon will flash red, alerting you to move them. While this control-scheme can seem disorienting and awkward at first, I quickly adapted and had no problems switching back and forth. As long as you ensure your sea vessels are safe, switching to and fro adds an entirely new, fresh element to the game’s play.
The game offers several different types of ships/aircraft and each possesses individual movement attributes. For example, bigger ships move slower than small “boats” and aircraft, in addition, have varying bombing capabilities, ammunition levels and ammunition re-load times. Players must incorporate these factors into their game play/tactical strategies.
The aircraft’s target reticule stays on a “fixed track,” located near the tip of the aircraft’s left wing by default and using it comes with a small “learning curve.” While I initially found it awkward, I think this is the best location for the reticule. After a little practice, I was obliterating ships with relative accuracy/ease.
The aircraft’s “fire” button is located in the bottom-right of the display and a “boost” option, applicable only to aircraft, is in the bottom-left. Ships are capable of receiving short, intermittent boosts by double-tapping them repeatedly. In addition, the game’s display screen shows the player’s score, average hit accuracy, a mini-map showing ship/aircraft locations, ability points inventory and ammo status.
The game’s graphics are premium quality and visually appealing. The game play’s milieu is immersive and, considering its potential for repetitive environments, i.e. play is confined primarily to maps consisting of open sea and islands, its developers manage to keep the playing field(s) varied.
The game’s soundtrack has an epic feel to it and its sound effects are crisp and integrate well with the soundtrack. Players have the option of silencing both and can listen to their own music while playing the game.
Airstrike Defense is a quality addition to the line-drawing genre. While the controls and alternating game play can take some getting used to, players will eventually find their “groove,” and movement and bombing accuracy will subsequently improve as the game progresses. All three modes (on both levels of difficulty throughout all campaigns) present numerous unique challenges and elements which, when combined with the various upgrades/power-ups and the ability to replay individual missions to earn more stars and raise global leader board ranking, boost the game’s replay value, while adding even more appeal to lovers of the line-drawing genre.
Those who love games in the line-drawing genre should definitely check this title out. It’s a worthy investment which cleverly integrates classic, line-drawing game play philosophies with fast-paced, sometimes hectic, strategy/action.