Cosmophony Review
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Cosmophony Review

Our Review by Nadia Oxford on October 6th, 2014
Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: SOAR, DIE, REPEAT
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If old-fashioned route memorization is your idea of a challenge, Cosmophony should be a treat.

Developer: Bento
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar

The App Store is stuffed full of shooters that combine pulsating neon colors, vector graphics, and thudding music. While these games do offer a challenge, they also exist to help players zone out, forget their surroundings, and relax. They're a kind of digital meditation aid, really.

On the other hand, Cosmophony by Bento, is a thumping vector shooter that isn't relaxing. It's the exact opposite, in fact. Granted, Bento means for Cosmophony to be a super-intense shooter experience for veteran fans of the genre. But there's a fine line between "difficult" and "unfair," and Cosmophony wobbles dangerously on that line.

Each level of Cosmophony offers two gameplay modes: Practice and Normal. Practice sessions (which feature stark black-and-white graphics to emphasize it isn't the real thing) play exactly like normal sessions. Players tap left or right on the screen to move their ship around obstacles and between gaps in barriers. They tap the middle of the screen to fire a beam that clears away certain hazards. As a Practice level progresses, players zip through checkpoints. When they inevitably smash up against something, they retreat back to the checkpoint and resume.

Cosmophony's Normal stages play exactly like their Practice doppelgangers, except for one inclusion and one exclusion. Included: color. Excluded: checkpoints. So if players die during a Normal stage, they're sent back to the start of the stage. And be warned: Cosmophony's stages aren't brief.

In short, the player's enjoyment of Cosmophony hinges directly on how enthused they are about restarting stages over and over. Some will certainly enjoy the do-or-die challenge, but many will wonder why they aren't playing something a little less likely to make them burst an artery.

Also noteworthy: the game's controls aren't as pixel-perfect as a game of this difficulty requires. Tapping the left, right, and middle of the screen is a great setup for anyone with three hands. Everyone else may find it problematic to steer while simultaneously shooting at roadblocks. Although the game does have controller support, which should come in handy.

Cosmophony has its strengths - its soundtrack is pretty spectacular, for instance - but it's tailored for the hardest of hardcore shooter fans that enjoy a crazy challenge (we know they're out there).

iPhone Screenshots

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iPad Screenshots

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