148Apps Network Post
Developer: C2Matrix
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 3GS

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Here we have the first iOS title from C2 Matrix: a top-down shooter that puts the player into the pilot seat of a futuristic, Apache-like helicopter. With a host of these types of shooter already lurking in the App Store, iStriker: Rescue and Combat needs to do at least a little something different – that difference is hinted at with the use of the word ‘rescue’ in the game’s title.

On the most part, though, iStriker is very similar to most top-down shooters. A scrolling screen slowly nudges the player through each level, with masses upon masses of enemies – both in the air and on the ground – trying their hardest to take players out of the skies before reaching a boss battle at the finale. Three lives later the game ends and a high-score is given before starting over on the next attempt. At which point I must add, the use of Game Center for leaderboards is absolutely seamless.

Two control methods are available to choose from, ‘touch’ or ‘motion’. The first makes use of the bottom half of the screen to control the aircraft movement, with upward swipes on the top half firing a laser, double-taps dropping a devastating, screen-clearing bomb and downward swiping landing the chopper (why would anybody do that? One moment and all will be revealed). With the ‘motion’ system, the same top-half controls become usable on the whole screen while the accelerometer takes over helicopter movement.

So, back to the landing of the chopper, and just why anybody would want to down an aircraft in the middle of a battle zone. This is where the rescue part comes in: where most shooters drop power-ups and such at random that are collected by just flying over, iStriker requires the player to land the aircraft and rescue little chaps from the ground. Health, bombs, fuel and extra lives are some of the things to be obtained in this way, but the landing has to be timed just right. If the bottom of the screen catches up before taking off, it’ll happen automatically – which is less than ideal if there’s a barrage of enemy fire, or indeed an enemy craft itself, sitting above the landing spot. A neat little addition, that adds to the chaos.

And chaos is aplenty in iStriker. Along with the different gestures being made to move, fire lasers, drop bombs and land or take off, comes a very high difficulty level. With three difficulty settings on offer, I found that even on the easiest setting it was a struggle to make it past level two. A great increase in longevity, but perhaps a little off-putting for those who like to progress through a whole game with relative ease and minimum frustration. However, the developers have already promised that an easier ‘novice’ difficulty will be included in the next update to address this matter.

All in, iStiker certainly holds its own in the shooter genre, with some pretty 3D visuals, the rather nifty rescue mechanic and lots of replayability by way of a high difficulty level and more Game Center achievements than one can shake a stick at. A game that doesn’t break the mould or do anything outlandishly new, but is certainly able to stand on its own two feet (so long as repeatedly dying isn’t a deterrent at the start).

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