Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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Shooting games on mobile as well as other platforms usually require us to slip behind some kind of gun. Sometimes that gun is mounted on a ship, and sometimes it's in the hands of a soldier, but the motive is usually the same: shoot straight, and shoot to kill.
Release by Gimo Games is a shooting game that's a bit different from the norm. The "ship" is a stationary polygon of varying vertices, the enemies are random shapes, and pressing down on the screen isn't what kills the bad guys - it's the release that does them in.
In Release, players pilot a ship that alters its shape after it executes an attack. It begins as a pentagon, then becomes a hexagon, then an octagon, and then a pentagon once more.
It's probably incorrect to say players "pilot" their ship, since the polygon construct never moves. It sits immobile at the center of the playing field while enemy ships come pouring in from all sides. So how is a poor polygon supposed to defend itself?
The answer lies in light. When players press on their mobile device's screen, a bright halo emanates from the ship. When the player lifts their thumb, the halo explodes and takes out everything ensnared in its light. Hence, "Release." The longer the player holds onto the screen, the thicker the halo grows. This makes it relatively easy to dispatch enemies that are far away - but once they creep closer, a thin, insignificant light of a "newborn" halo might not be enough to save the player's polygonal bacon. To make things even more complicated, power-ups and point multipliers can be annihilated by the halo's light.
It's difficult to build up a score worth bragging about in Release, but players will certainly try over and over again. This is a pretty addictive game, thanks in part to its unique mechanics.
There are a couple of notable problems, however. The plain enemy graphics sometimes make them difficult to distinguish from the good stuff, like the aforementioned point multipliers and power-ups. More importantly, there are (thankfully rare) instances wherein releasing doesn't actually cause the ship's halo to explode. Instead, it disappears, leaving the ship open for enemy attacks. This seems to happen most often when a halo is released within close vicinity of the ship.
Problems aside, Release is a catchy and clever shooting game and there's nothing quite like it on the App Store. Better yet, players can frag enemy ships while learning about their shapes. Fun and educational!