Developer: Bearded Man Studios
Price: $0.99
Version Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

All school kids know that the harsh vacuum of space isn’t a place filled with hugs and teddy bears. However, if the frozen void is as danger-filled as the playing field presented in Warp 5 Overdrive, humanity may as well kiss its prospects for space travel goodbye.

warp_03Warp 5 Overdrive is a retro space shooter from Bearded Man Studios. Players build their own 9x9x9 spaceship out of pixels (mine is shaped like a horsey), and is then launched into the zero-G battlefield. The game offers a pretty unique perspective. Like many retro space shooters, the action is presented top-down – but there’s a third dimension to contend with, too.

The player’s ship orbits a cylindrical structure situated in the middle of the screen. Enemy ships (which are pixelated masses resembling vessels from Space Invaders) are spread around the circumference of the cylinder. Players can slide left or right around this axis. When the player lines up with a bad-guy ship, their own ship fires on it automatically.

Taking out Warp 5 Overdrive‘s individual alien invaders isn’t too tough; the real challenge comes with navigating the environment. Hazards pop up constantly, including rings that encircle the cylinder and dispatch the player’s ship if they’re not shot at or navigated through carefully. There are also constant meteor storms and occasional thick swarms of enemies.

warp_02However, it’s navigating around the rings that turns out to be the biggest challenge in Warp 5 Overdrive. Some of the configurations are sure to leave the player wondering exactly how they’re supposed to survive the onslaught. The “RROD,” for instance (guess what the initials stand for), involves a group of tightly-packed white rings that slide towards the player. The player is supposed to shoot at the weakened red link in each ring and pass through the space safely – but that’s a near-impossibility when the red links from one ring to another are located on opposite sides. There’s simply not enough time to scurry around and blast all of them.

Strangely enough though, death means little in Warp 5 Overdrive. The player gathers up “light years” as they fly, and those light years are added to an overall tally that’s saved to a user name and password. It’s the overall tally that winds up on the leader board, not the individual light year accumulations. In other words, persistent players should eventually see their name on the leader board – especially if they kill enough enemies to grab the coveted “Warp 5 Overdrive” item that sends them careening through enemies and traps for massive light year bonuses.

Warp 5 Overdrive is a unique, if frustrating, space shooter. That said, fans of the genre shouldn’t have any trouble settling into the repetitious gameplay as they try and figure out a way to pass through those pesky rings.


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