Version Reviewed: 1.0
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Missile Defense, originally released for the Atari some time ago, is one of those ageless classics. Earth Vs. Moon manages to inject the core Missile Defense gameplay with a hefty dose of humor and a few notable twists in bringing it to the App Store.
Earth Vs Moon is, you guessed it, an epic battle between the earth and the moon. Not only are there apparently inhabitants on the moon (we never checked the dark side) but they also want to destroy earth. Throughout the game the story line is advanced by fully readable newspaper front pages. You'll want to read all of the articles as they are very funny.
In the game, you have three satellites to defend earth as the moon fires missiles (and more) at you. You need to fire missiles of your own to explode in the area of an enemy missile, which will then trigger an explosion of that missile, which can explode more missiles. In order to succeed, you'll have to aim for massive chain explosions. If you let missiles through, they can destroy both your defense satellites and earth. If you let earth be completely destroyed, you lose (it's ok if earth is only 1% inhabitable). Mixed in are health UFO's that, if shot, will heal a part of the earth. While sometimes the levels can be very strategic with well-timed combos, others can degenerate into screen-mashing.
There are three game modes: Story Mode, Score Attack, and Boss Attack. Story Mode is the bulk of game, and it is comprised of 20 levels. These levels start with an overview of the enemy fleet and the ammo that you will have available. Once the enemy fleet is completely depleted, if earth has not been completely destroyed, you are given a statistical overview with an overall rating on a one-to-five star scale. Mixed in with the normal levels are five delightfully creative boss levels, which are themed after classic games like pong and space invaders. These boss battles are insanely fun and provide a great change of pace from the normal levels. The level structure is not ideal, though, as some levels are insanely tough. A few more inserted levels to make the learning curve gentler would be a great addition. Once you complete a certain number of story mode levels, you unlock both score attack and boss attack. Score attack is an endless mode in which you see how many points you can rack up until earth is destroyed, and in boss attack, you are challenged to complete boss battles as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, neither of these modes is integrated with online leader boards.
As expected, the controls are simple. Tap your target to fire a missile, tap a satellite to activate a limited time shield (this uses ammo), and drag across the screen to fire an array of missiles. The touch controls, however, are not always responsive. I wish there was a way to activate a "hail-mary" weapon or even an upgrade system, as this would help spice up the game.
The graphics are decent, but not overly detailed. They serve the game well, but they're not going to blow anyone away. Sound effects and music pretty much fall in the same category, perfectly adequate.
Earth Vs Moon is certainly a worthy rendition of Missile Command, and fans should certainly buy it. At 3.99, it's not the biggest bargain for its content on the App Store, but it's certainly worth a look and will provide sufficient enjoyment.