App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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Battleship Lonewolf: Space Shooter has a long but accurate name. It's a game about piloting a lone space ship as you shoot down loads of enemies. In a lot of ways, it resembles a tower defense game, but with some slow-paced shmup elements thrown for good measure. Conceptually, this is a winning formula, but Battleship Lonewolf's repetitive nature holds it back.
In Battleship Lonewolf, you are the captain of a large space ship that has some open turret slots on it at the beginning of any given level. You start out with a predetermined amount of currency to spend on adding guns to your ship before the action starts and you start gunning down attacking enemies.
When the action starts, you can tap on the screen to have your ship turn in that direction. Your weapons fire automatically, making the action more focused on steering your ship out of the line of fire and selecting the right weapons for the right enemies.
As you kill foes, you earn additional currency, which can then be used to purchase additional weapons or use special abilities that you unlock as you progress in the game.
You're gonna need a bigger ship
The further you get in Battleship Lonewolf, you'll be able to use currency that is earned for passing missions to upgrade your ship and weapons so you can start each level with a higher set of baseline stats and turret power. You'll definitely need these boosts, since the difficulty of the game scales up really quickly.
Even if you're good enough to dodge enemy attacks, upgrading your ship is a necessity since each level ends with a boss character that requires you beat it within a certain amount of time to pass the level successfully. If you're weapons are too weak, you'll almost certainly fail to do enough damage to these bosses to move on.
Because of the difficulty of Battleship Lonewolf, you'll most likely have to go back and play early levels to grind out credits just to advance. This is annoying primarily because it seems like Battleship Lonewolf is designed to have your stats determine your success rather than your skill.
If there weren't time limits on bosses, it would be conceiveable to skillfully pilot your way through a difficult level. I actually did just that on multiple occasions, but sometimes was prevented from moving forward simply because my turrets didn't have enough upgrades to take down the bullet-sponge bosses in the game.
I would have less of a problem with this design if Battleship Lonewolf offered some sort of compelling narrative to keep me wanting to advance. While there is a story in the game, it strikes a balance somewhere between cliche and incoherent, making it hardly worth wading through.
The bottom line
Battleship Lonewolf is a great mashup of ideas that is hamstrung by a poorly designed progression system. Although it looks great and plays well early on, it quickly turns into a grind fest that hardly feels satisfying.