App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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What is it about anime girls fighting giant mechanical monstrosities that has such a massive appeal? I'm totally lost here. That's not to say I don't enjoy that kind of thing, I just don't understand why I do. Perhaps we'll never know for sure, but in the meantime we can all sit back and enjoy the ride.
EnbornX is extremely light on the story, but it involves some kind of un-killable robotic threat. A young girl decked-out in what might be cybernetics or a really fancy set of exoskeletal armor is the sole hope for humanity. It's actually pretty standard stuff for a genre that's full of things like time-traveling mutants, super-human post-apocalyptic fighters and hair that defies physics (and fashion). The setting completely falls by the wayside once the game actually starts, however. Then it's a full-on 2D bullet hell shooter. Players have three weapons at their disposal: a 3-way shot, melee sword and massive laser that needs charging to be effective. The enemy, on the other hand, is an invincible and infinitely-evolving death machine. So much for a fair fight.
I'm absolutely in love with the idea behind EnbornX. Save the very first level and pre-planned "special boss" stages, I've yet to fight the same configuration twice. I don't mean consecutively, I mean at all. This thing has a ton of different components that will link-up in a myriad of different ways. Sometimes it's a complete pushover, but other times it's a struggle simply to survive the first few seconds. If nothing else, it's always keeping me on my toes.
There are a few things that bug me, though. While I totally appreciate the way the game auto-saves my current stage when I exit, I really wish there was a pause button. I mean seriously, no pause button? In a single-player game? I also found the movement to be a tad awkward thanks to an overly-sensitive virtual stick. It's not bad enough to ruin the fun, but it could certainly stand a little adjusting. Also, I'd kill for the ability to shoot in both directions (she only ever faces right) so I can attack from multiple angles rather than being totally useless when circling around behind this giant metal thing. My chief gripe, however, is the need for better balancing. The chargeable laser decimates everything. So much so that I rarely resort to using the other weapons, and when I do it's usually the melee attack. Similarly, the randomness of the enemy's evolutions leads to difficulty spikes and dips that are all over the place.
I might have more complaints about EnbornX than I do direct compliments, but that's only because I want it to be all that it can be. With a bit more attention and tweaking, this could be a serious App Store contender. One with virtually unlimited possibilities.