App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
It's hard not to enjoy blasting everything in sight using over-the-top weaponry. Especially in Shogun's case, since it uses an intriguing (and rather awesome) system of risk versus reward to keep things exciting. Well, excepting the thousands of bullets whizzing by all the time. Problem is, there's not much to it. At least, not this version.
Shogun is every bit the tribute it claims to be. It's a totally manic and extremely challenging shooter. One that could sit comfortably between the likes of Ikaruga or anything made by Cave without looking out of place. In addition to the expected hail of weapons fire and narrow misses are a couple of clever gameplay systems that help it stand out. First, by taking their finger off off the screen, players can bring up a time-slowing radial menu that allows them to switch between weapons (spread, homing and a focused laser) and upgrade them if they have the means. Second, everything is tied to the ship's shields. taking too many hits drains a shield bar, and when they're all gone it's Game Over. However, shield bars can also be used to upgrade weapons and can be recharged by flying close to enemy projectiles. Interesting concept, no?
It's these elements that really make Shogun feel special. Close-calls are encouraged, but naturally come with the increased risk of taking damage. Of course, if it's done right it's possible to end up with a screen-filling arsenal. The radial menu is also a welcome addition since it's so easy and intuitive to use and gives players the opportunity to easily adjust their weapons without taking their focus off of the ship. It's just clever design, really.
The problem with Shogun, or at least with this particular version of it, is that it's over way too quickly. Just as I started getting used to everything, the level was over. And it's just the one level. The other stages can be played for a minute or two as a sort of preview, but only the first one is available in its entirety. All of the others have to be bought ($0.99 apiece or $1.99 for a full unlock). It's an understandable model that's bound to draw in many a shooter fan, but it's still disappointing that this free version is so short.
Since it doesn't actually cost anything, I'd say Shogun is certainly worth a download. Just don't be surprised when everything's been done in (probably) less than an hour or so. Whether or not the $1.99 for the remaining three levels is a justifiable expense will depend on the individual.