Developer: RNTS Media
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

Graphics/Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

If there is still a question of whether games can have the equivalent of the B-grade movie, BladeZ makes a pretty amusing and excellent example. Wrapped in the inscrutable localization issues of games and anime from Japan in days gone past, and containing a basic shoot-em-up gameplay where enemies just keep coming and bullet hell becomes a thing, this app is one that almost revels in the seeming camp of the conspiracy and sci-fi genres.

Playing the game is fairly straight forward: move a finger across the screen and the ship moves along with it, auto-firing one of three different weapon types: plasma, shot, or laser, which can be switched out with a press of a button, and whose energy stores are depleting with use. Also included in the arsenal are mini-ships that hover and shoot missiles and bombs that can clear the entire screen. The auto-fire instills the fact that a screen that rapidly fills with enemies and various attacks requires more dodging and taking out key ships in order to ensure survival.

As players progress, those three weapons can be upgraded (both their power and longevity) alongside the bombs, hovering ships, and even continues. The unfortunate part of the entire ordeal is that if the ship is destroyed, and continues are used up, the entire story starts over from the beginning again. Of course, stage boss and survival modes exist to offer some variety in this avenue.

Currently buying the game gets players 100,000 coins, which are used for upgrades, and allows for quite a bit of upgrading. Which is somewhat misleading, as gaining coins in the game is not exactly easy. The rate of acquisition by just gameplay seems rather stunted from what I experienced playing across all three modes, though there is the option to purchase more of these coins through in-app purchases. It’s a model that seems somewhat akin to the arcades of yesteryear, with actual money purchasing more and more attempts.

Of course, the method of control is not nearly as smooth as can be. While the buttons to switch the support ships’ formation, bombs, and switching weapons are easily switched among four position on the screen, the movement still requires actually moving a finger across the screen. Thankfully it does not have to be on the ship itself, but this creates a situation where the finger is obscuring part of the screen, and potentially more, which is not great for a schmup, where having every bit of the screen visible is fairly important.

BladeZ is campy fun. Which also translates to it not being the most polished experience, but for an amusing laugh with a high sense of difficulty and challenge, as schmups tend to promise, it delivers in droves.


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