App Reviewed on: iPhone 4
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The retro resurgence is in full swing and iOS is becoming one of the most prolific platforms for it. Everything we as gamers hold sacred from Pac-Man to Tetris has enjoyed homages on the iPhone and iPad, some good, some not so good. But what of Missile Command? The 1980s classic has been re-released on the iPhone, and 2009's Earth vs. Moon did a great job of mixing the Missile Command formula with Space Invaders, but isn't it time for some new blood to pay tribute to the old blood?
Step up Last Defense of out Time. Beauty of the Fall's second game stays very true to the Missile Command formula. Airborne missiles denoted by lines fall from the sky and are aimed towards blocky-looking towers on the ground that the player has to protect. It starts off basic, with taps creating explosions that can take out the missiles, but as the game evolves it mixes up the tried-and-tested formula with new weapons and enemies. On the weaponry side, players can scorch the sky with a missile that creates a horizontal line. The line destroys anything it comes into contact with. Or players can go with a cluster bomb which has a punchy diameter. They can also use temporary shields to protect the blocks, very useful as the game rises to a frenetic pace around the halfway mark with enemies firing multiple missiles in all directions, especially during the boss fights which throw some interesting twists into the mix themselves.
The game is decent fun, each level a short burst of frantic tapping and desperate defensive multitasking. Supporting the fun play are some colourful, neat visuals and a great retro soundtrack by Perspection. Unfortunately, belying the impressive mechanics are sloppy, clumsy, game-stopping bugs that really don't impress much.
On both my playthroughs the game crashed on the 17th phase of 30 by freezing on the victory screen. The only way to move on to the next level was to reset the iPhone completely. Meanwhile on three separate occasions, and this occurred on both playthroughs, the game completely skipped through entire phases for no apparent reason. It didn't even let me tap the screen before declaring me victorious. The game isn't all that long so to have 3 of 30 phases removed from the experience is quite disappointing, as is having to reset the iPhone just to move onto another level.
I'd love to give Last Defense of our Time a higher score, but the sloppy bugs make it a hard game to get fully on board with. Get past them and there's a great Missile Command homage with plenty of variety waiting to be enjoyed.