App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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Ah, the simple pleasures of ruling the galaxy by sheer force of numbers. Who needs tactical advantages when I can just swarm my enemies with dozens of tiny fighter craft, overwhelm them, and take all their stuff? All while pointing and laughing at them, naturally. Although the simple strategy of amassing numbers can get a tad dull from time to time. I suppose then it’s a good thing we have a game like Blue Libra 2 to liven things up with resource management and upgrades, huh?
So in the original game, players were controlling the titular space vessel and all of its tiny offspring as they attempted to retake their home world from an alien threat. Now they get to control a totally different, but still very much titular, craft as they take the fight to their enemies. Blue Libra 2 is a game about resource management. The massive ship will generate minerals at a steady pace, which can then be used to create smaller ships or even upgrade its own performance. These smaller ships can then be commended via line drawing to hunt down enemy fleets or take control of any planets in the current system. These planets function much like the Libra in that they can produce minerals and ships, as well as upgrade their functionality. Of course it’s also possible to lose a planet and still win the level. Losing the Libra, not so much.
There’s definitely something to be said for the simple accessibility of games that utilize the “swarm the planet” mechanics, but eventually it can end up feeling a bit dull. Adding things like various ship types, upgradeable “bases,” and even un-lockable upgrades that can be activated with cash earned from each level seems like a natural progression. It’s also just plain awesome. Being able to decide between what to build, whether or not to upgrade, and how to go about approaching an occupied planet makes everything feel like it’s under my control as opposed to being a simple game of Who Has the Most.
So conceptually Blue Libra 2 is wonderful. Mechanically it’s a different matter. Well that’s not entirely true. Navigating through menus and commanding squads of fighters is fine, it’s just the camera controls that get in the way. For some reason I can only move the camera with two fingers, even if I’m nowhere near a group of selectable ships. This in itself wouldn’t be a problem except that half the time the game can’t tell if I’m trying to move the view or adjust the zoom.
Despite the camera controls occasionally getting in the way, Blue Libra 2 is still a solid strategy game. It’s just complex enough to breathe a bit of new life to the genre yet still simple enough to make the transition fairly painless. But that camera, man, wow.