Version Reviewed: 1.2
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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Bullet-hell shooters are nothing particularly new, however Magenta Arcade manages to offer a few tweaks that make it feel fresher than most. Underneath those retro graphics and some particularly old school music it’s a small breath of fresh air, and is sure to entertain.
Magenta Arcade doesn’t do a great job of explaining how its key mechanic works, instead focusing on how to fire most effectively. At first, you’ll figure it’s just a regular bullet-hell shooter. You hold a finger down to fire at the enemies, and watch as a stream of bullets come their way. So far, so typical of the genre.
You can pick up bonuses too, and better weapons, by holding your finger down on an on-screen button in order to unlock such things. Special attacks can also be activated by a tap on the screen. Each are satisfying, and occasional sub missions to complete bonus objectives keep things moving at a steady pace.
So, where does Magenta Arcade stand out most of all? By what happens when you release your finger’s hold on the screen. Your ship vanishes and is safe from all attack, until you put your finger back on screen and unleash some damage. This method of ducking in and out of combat sounds like something that should make the game far too easy, but it doesn’t. Instead, it’s fairly well balanced and remains quite challenging.
It’s startling what a difference such a small tweak can make. Magenta Arcade is that much more enjoyable than others in the genre, requiring some strategy as well as some fast reactions. You're not solely dependent on the speed in which you can move around, but also by planning when it's best to duck for cover. While Magenta Arcade could be a little longer and is in dire need of Game Center support, it remains a highly enjoyable entry in the genre.