Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4S
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If a petri dish of microscopic organisms could in some way be imbued with the bright, neon lights of Times Square or Las Vegas, it might begin to rival the psychedelic masterpiece that is Lightopus. This luminous game, alternately hectic and relaxing, perfectly meshes an engaging art style and simple yet satisfying gameplay. Players will find themselves mesmerized by the microbe meets neon sign visuals and completely immersed in the solid mechanics and responsive controls.
In Lightopus, the player controls the titular creature which looks much like something from the deepest depths of the ocean. By directing this illuminated swimmer into small bubbles, the player frees tiny allies called Bulbies. These Bulbies will then follow the Lightopus around. Each Bulbie collected will help the Lightopus swim faster and faster until it is racing fast enough to propel itself out of the current level into the next. These Bulbies can also be used as living weapons against the many enemies that occupy each level by directing them into the path of those enemies. Thus, in each level, the player must manage their Bulbies in order to achieve escape speeds while at the same time protecting themselves. This isn't just an action game of collecting and avoidance. There is also a great degree of strategy involved as well.
Each level is balanced out by various power-ups and collectable stars that will unlock special bonus levels when enough are collected. There are various enemies to avoid and attack and various strengths of Bulbies to collect and employ. The Lightopus can either be controlled by taping and dragging on the screen which works very well. There is also the option to use a virtual joystick. Between these two options, every player should be able to find a control scheme they are comfortable with. Fortunately, the controls in Lightopus never get in the way of enjoying the game. They are both responsive and subtle enough to fit seamlessly with the rest of the game's many strengths.
Players who enjoy bright, neon graphics with a retro feel will love the look of Lightopus and players looking for a challenging but satisfying experience will not be disappointed. This game is not to be missed by those looking for something new to enchant them on the iOS platform.
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