Developer: Madgarden
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

It’s the end of the world as we know it, so it’s time to chillax and kill some alien scum, right? Such is the story of Chillaxian, in its own little game world, at least. The real story behind it and its creation was detailed recently here on the site. But how does it play? Quite well!

Chillaxian-2While the title references Galaxian, the more fluid enemy movement recalls something closer to Galaga and its moving formations. The pace of the game is never too intensely fast; perfect for sitting back and chillaxing to a good ol’ space shooter. The controls are simple enough, too: just use each thumb to move left and right, with auto-firing and an optional aiming line to help figure out where shots will go…if staying still. While moving, shots will curve slightly to the current movement direction, which not only helps when trying to hit moving enemies, but also adds a standout element to the game. That kind of flexibility just gives the game its own feel.

The best part is that the retro experience is just authentic enough. There are definite references to the GalaxianGalaga, and Space Invaders era, with enough modern elements like glowy effects to punctuate the experience. Another example of this: an old-school initials entry for local high scores, combined with Game Center support for online leaderboards. Even the little messages in the menu give the game that Madgarden personality. The music is a minimalistic pulsing beat that punctuates the experience. There’s also a buzzing sound and CRT-esque effects added in ’1979 Mode’. Level progression uses a Minter-esque system where every ten levels serve as checkpoints that can be restarted from.

Chillaxian-3Chillaxian is not a big game, but it wasn’t meant to be. What it winds up being is extremely concise. It’s meant to be a chill-out arcade shooter with some of its own touches, and it’s just fine for what it is: a fine little chill-out arcade shooter.

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