Developer: Spearhead Entertainment
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.2

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Phoenix Spirit is a good underwater, Ecco the Dolphin style platformer. It would be 300x better if it came out in 1997 on the Sega Game Gear. On the iPhone though, the graphics are a bit aged at times and the controls could use some work.

The game starts you out as some sort of sea otter named Phoenix. You are told by the spirit in a very Game Boy Zelda’ish way that the mother tree has been diseased and that it is up to you to save it. So you, as the appointed savior, must go around the world and find things to kill the diseased enemies with.

The main complaint of the game that I have is the control system. There is nothing really wrong with the way that it works, but compared to many other games in the genre on the iPhone, it isn’t quite top tier. Movement is done with a combination of tilt controls and platform diving. To gain speed with swimming, because apparently your sea otter can’t build his own speed, you must do a combination of dive bombing and springing off walls. The real problem with the control scheme though is with shooting at enemies. Keeping up with momentum while tilting the iPhone to aim at a moving enemy is frustrating to say the least.

Besides the control scheme, the graphics are quite nice, but not quite as updated as I would’ve liked. As I said earlier, the game looks a bit like it belongs on a Game Gear, and with this type of game, I think that it helps rather than hurts. It’s just hard to play a game like Need For Speed: Shift, seeing almost modern console graphics, and then go to Phoenix Spirit and its graphics. Without an extremely innovative game type or control scheme, the graphics look just a little too tired for my taste.

If you are a huge platformer fan, you may get some enjoyment out of Phoenix Spirit, but the average gamer probably won’t love this one. If it had a bit more polish and a better combat system, Phoenix Spirit would be a winner, but in its current form, I would keep it do genre fans only.

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