Developer: Bane Games
Version Reviewed: 1.02
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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Battle Group is a mostly great game. It looks sharp, has pretty high production values and gives the player plenty to do in between its action-packed missions. In fact, these surrounding elements are so good that they effectively cover up how simplistic the actual gameplay is - an impressive feat.
The game casts players as the captain of a battleship with the goal of blasting nefarious pirates out of the sea. It isn’t an amazing story but the well-drawn character portraits and professional voice acting sell it in a way most other games on the App Store do not. The visuals of the game itself may not quite match its menus, cutscenes or surprisingly epic music but the way in which it resembles a more detailed version of arcade shooters like Xevious gives it a different sort of charm. Plus, there’s a filter over everything, making the screen look like a military monitor, which is a nice touch.
Battle Group is essentially an on-rails shooter. The ship moves along a set path and the player’s job is to tap the screen to launch missiles and take out enemies. The mission objectives may change from “harass the enemy” to “defend friendly units” but it usually boils down to the same strategic tapping. Ammo is unlimited but must occasionally recharge.
There’s some added depth thanks to the ability to level up ships with experience gained from completed missions. This can give ships new abilities like “expanded missile area of effect range.” Pretty early in the game players will also be able to use a support ship complete with its own special guns that must be manually aimed. Earning medals through skillful play unlocks more flagships and support ships. Despite all of these flourishes though, eventually tapping on pirates to blow them up gets old after a while. Luckily missions never last long enough for fatigue to set in too deeply.
As far as cheap shooters on the App Store go, just the amount of care given to Battle Group makes it worth checking out. In all honesty, it’s pretty shallow at its core but at least it’s shallow with some effort put into it.