App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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There are some pretty amazing shooting games on mobile. Cave's library of projectile-heavy "bullet hell" games come to mind, including titles like Bug Princess and Bug Princess 2.
So it takes a lot for a mobile shooting game to stand out, and while That Wonderful Lemon Co. makes a noble effort with Dark Star, the end result is a bit too haphazard to really recommend.
Dark Star is a horizontal shooter that zips you along an invisible rail in space. Space debris, enemy ships, and asteroids get all up in your windshield as you travel. You shoot them down for safe passage, as well as for the purpose of meeting certain mission goals.
Completing mission goals earns you stars, which go back into unlocking new ships and upgrades. In turn, life gets a little easier and you can shoot your merry way through space with a little more confidence.
Dark Star's biggest problem are its controls. You move your ship by moving your thumb across the touch screen. That's fine, but your ship is a very slippery devil. The tiniest movement from your thumb sends it careening across space (and right into an asteroid, more often than not).
There's no option to adjust touch sensitivity. There's no option for reversing the game's X and Y axis, either.
Shooting is a major part of staying alive in Dark Star - and like movement, it's an ordeal.
You need to tap on an object to target it, which can be an ordeal when you're already sinking so much effort into keeping your ship on the rails. There appears to be an auto-targeting function, but it's slow and finicky.
Finally, it's hard to judge object distance. Dark Star utilizes a fish-eye lens effect that's admittedly neat, but makes it difficult to determine if you can get around marauding asteroids, or if you're just going to slam into them.
The bottom line
Dark Star undeniably has some moments of "cool!" - when you barrel-roll, you slow down time, which makes shooting down debris and enemies a touch easier - but it's an "iffy" shooter in a market crowded with stellar titles.