App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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Geometry Wars is a game that excels because of its simplicity, but Silverfish DX takes things to an even more stripped down level. Instead of being a twin-stick shooter, Silverfish DX is an arena shooter without the shooting. The result is a fast and fun arcade game, but not one that feels as fully-featured as something like Geometry Wars.
Swim or die
Silverfish DX is a lot like if someone took the Pacifist Mode introduced in Geometry Wars 2 and built an entire game around it. You play as a fish, and you’re trapped in a pretty confined play area with all sorts of other undersea creatures spawning and chasing you about.
Your only way to deal with these foes is to dodge them, as a joystick for movement is just about the only control you have over the game. There is a way to clear out some space in your increasingly crowded play area, though. Every few seconds, a ball of light appears in the play area, and swimming into it triggers an explosion that kills all enemies in the blast radius.
The main goal of Silverfish DX is to net a high score, and this is mainly done through surviving for a long time, but there are other systems at play that can let you maximize your point gain as you play. For starters, killing enemies drops green crystals into the play area that can grant you a score multiplier.
On top of this, hitting balls of light also affects a meter that doubles as both your light meter and a powerup that gives you temporary invincibility. When active, your fish turns red and can run indiscriminately into other fish, destroying them immediately. That said, activating this power deactivates your ability to use a Time Shock, which allows you to temporarily slow down the game, so you need to be careful about when you want to kill tons of enemies or just give your reflexes a break for a second.
These additions make Silverfish DX not just a game about strict survival, but also one with some neat “risk vs. reward” score-chaser systems. These things are neat up to a point, but there’s only so many times you want to start a new game of Silverfish DX before wishing that there were more things to do in the game.
Although the arcade action here is good, it is reminiscent of games that have a history of finding new and clever ways to make this formula have more reasons to replay it. Silverfish DX, regrettably, has none of those things to speak of. Without additional modes, things to unlock, or an achievement system of any kind Silverfish DX feels like a one-dimensional version of a Geometry Wars game.
The bottom line
The only thing wrong with Silverfish DX is that there’s already better and more varied versions of the same game out there. Specifically, Geometry Wars—a game that precedes Silverfish by nearly a decade—provides a similar experience in a more robust package. Silverfish DX just strips too many things out of a traditional twin-stick shooter and doesn’t add enough new stuff back to it to make itself stand out.