Device Reviewed on: iPhone 4
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Retro gaming fans can rejoice that Atari's Missile Command has landed in the App Store. Despite its origins in the era of the joystick, Missile Command adapts well to the iPhone's touch interface. Just like its predecesor, it offers appealing gameplay for both fans of the original or those who are checking it out for the first time.
The premise remains the same: protect a group of cities from the fast-falling bombs and alien ships threatening to destroy them. Tapping on screen fires a missile that explodes at the point of contact. However, keep an eye on your missile supply as running out means you are defenseless. The game ends if all the cities are destroyed, presenting you with an exploding Earth and a full-screen "THE END."
The more you advance in the game, the faster the enemies come. Pretty soon it feels like you are just banging the iPhone's screen repeatedly without reason. Yet to complicate matters the later rounds start you out with even less misiles, forcing you to be even more strategic with your targeting.
The key to Missile Command success is maximizing the impact of your missiles. When each one explodes, the range is wide enough to take out multiple bombs at once. So try and target a group when they are just appearing at the top of the screen.
There is a nice music option; either the retro Missile Command sounds or songs from your iPod library. Too few apps take advantage of the fact that most users have plenty of music on their iPhone or iPod touch they may want to listen to while playing.
Atari has brought over other classic games to the iOS platform. Along with Missile Command Ultra, retro gaming fans may also want to check out Centipede Ultra or Super Breakout Ultra. There is a menu screen that promotes these, however navigating out of it is tricky; tapping anywhere in this menu kicks you out of the game and sends you to the App Store. Swiping to the right, however, transfers you back to the Missile Command main menu.
Missile Command Ultra, however, is a clear winner with its touch-friendly, retro gaming. Support for Retina Display and fixing its minor bug are the only tweaks it needs for perfection.