App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
Graphics / Sound Rating:
User Interface Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
I can't be the only person who finds the visual direction of the Darius series to be a little odd. I mean let's think about this for a second. It's a space shooter, set in space, but the enemy ships all look like robotic sea creatures. It's weird. It's pretty cool, but it's weird. Of course none of that matters once the shooting starts, which is where DARIUSBURST SP really shines. Obviously.
Like most shmups on the App Store, DARIUSBURST SP uses touch controls and auto-shooting. There is a button that will switch the guns on and off, but I've yet to figure out why that would ever be necessary. The Burst button on the other hand, with its super-weapon unleashing potential, is essential. The fact that it can nullify enemy lasers doesn't hurt, either. Players initially have a choice between two modes (Original and SP), with a third (Mission) that unlocks once two full runs through either of the other two options have been completed. So yeah, lots to do. Original Mode is essentially the arcade classic, with plenty of branching paths and things to shoot at. SP Mode is a kind of remixed Original, with different enemy patterns and slightly different boss battles. Mission Mode... well I admittedly never managed to mess around with it, which I'll explain in a bit.
As I've already mentioned, the visuals are odd but very cool. Lots of activity and smooth animations, colorful graphics and so on. There's a decent selection of levels, and the way player have to choose where to go after each one makes for a great excuse to play over and over again. There's no way to see every stage in a single game, so choosing different paths during different attempts is a must for completionists. They'll also be tempted by all the artwork and other extras to unlock.
Now to get back to the reasons why I haven't been able to give Mission Mode a try. The most immediate irritation is the way the game resets when I exit. It's still running in the background, but when I reopen it I go back to the title screen. Not cool after a successful, lengthy and uncompleted run. Another issue was having it crash on me after defeating the boss at the end of the final area. Went right back to the title screen again. Stuff like this really gets in the way of actually finishing two playthroughs, and severely limits the likelihood of unlocking that third mode.
My super-annoying technical issues aside, DARIUSBURST SP is still a very good-looking and well-made shmup. Whether or not it's worth the $10.99 will depend on the individual and their love of shooting space crustaceans, but it's certainly a solid effort.