App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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These days a shooter has to so something extra special if it's to have even the slightest chance of standing out among the virtual ton of other titles in the genre on the App Store. Some use slick or stylized visuals, others give the music special attention, a few bombard the player with options and power-ups and a handful just plain bombard the player with lots and lots of bullets. Space Falcon Reloaded also does its part to stand out, but rather than focusing on bullet points (no pun intended) for the "back of the box" it keeps things simple and accessible.
The world is doomed, someone has to save it, blah, blah, blah... It's the standard "last hope for humanity" story that's in pretty much everything these days, but who really plays a shooter for the story? The only thing worth knowing is that there are lots of aliens that need blowing up. Space Falcon Reloaded is a very straight-forward affair: large virtual buttons on either side of the bottom of the screen move the ship left and right, the center button fires one of a few different alternate weapons (once they're acquired via power-up) and destroying enough enemies earns a devastating special attack that can be activated by tapping anywhere on the screen.
If players can survive through the first boss fight, which is a lot tougher to manage than it sounds, even more power-ups will start to appear. The double-shot will have to compete for attention with the triple-shot, an Upgrade will make the ship's blaster stronger... there's even one that will attach extra weapons to the wings, increasing the power and spread of the ship's attack. It's in these slightly later stages that the game truly shines, with a ramped-up difficulty and a virtual buffet of destructive abilities coming together to create a nirvana of explosions and score boosting.
Something important to note is that Space Falcon Reloaded has a pretty high barrier for entry. In other words, it can be really hard. It took me quite some time to even reach the first boss, let alone clear it, and sometimes I still have trouble getting to that point. Some of it can be attributed to the very nature of the genre, but sometimes it feels like the game is throwing impossible configurations at me on purpose. Especially during those freaking meteor storms.
As I've said, what sets Space Falcon Reloaded apart from the plethora of other shooters on the App Store is its accessibility. Sure it's tough, and a little cheap at times, but it's incredibly easy to pick up and play with or without prior experience. It won't blow the minds of any hardcore bullet-hell fans, but it can certainly devour battery life as players attempt to out-score each other on the leaderboards.