Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 2
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SHMUP-style games have almost always been the same thing game after game. From old arcade titles all the way to more recent examples, the formula is the same: pilot a plane or other aircraft while shooting at and evading the fire of enemies. Obviously it is a recipe that’s worked for decades. However, the folks at Polymorph Systems decided to ignore the old rule of “If it ain't broke, don't fix it” and created a rather unique gem with Fleet of One.
Fleet of One takes out the part of shoot-em-up’s where players need to maneuver their aircraft around. Instead, the spacecraft the player operates in Fleet of One is so gigantic, it takes up the entire screen. The difference in Fleet of One, however, is that the player must operate all of the 5 guns; using them to shoot baddies on the screen or throw up shields so as to save the enormous space craft from sudden death.
Players may believe a simple exploit of Fleet of One would be to press their fingers on all 5 guns. The developers of this game are a step ahead of them, however; only two guns are able to be used at any one time. Therefore, a player can't just lay their hands on the bottom of their iOS device in order to shoot down enemies. But as pointed out previously, pressing down on the gun isn't the only thing a player can and needs to do. Swiping down on any of the guns will temporarily raise a shield over it. Be warned however, as it only stays up for a couple of seconds. Swiping too early or too late could result in the enemy’s fire still hitting the spacecraft.
While Fleet of One eliminates the mechanic of flying - something that is a staple of other flying shoot-em-ups - there are drawbacks to doing that. Having a colossal ship does leave a player more vulnerable to attack. Likewise, one may find the lack of a defensive mechanic in a tad dull and lackluster.
Nevertheless, Fleet of One is a great and entertaining take on the classic SHMUP-style game. The title allows players to focus on the offensive aspect of a shoot-em-up rather than worrying about the defensive side of things. That doesn't necessarily make the game any easier; it just changes the dynamic of what the player needs to worry about. It also gives players a better visual presentation and awesome new way to shoot enemies out of the sky while giving the AI the dirty job of flying the plane. In other words, Fleet of One lets a player have all the fun of blowing things out of the sky without the tedious tasks of flying.