Version Reviewed: 1.0.8
Device Reviewed On: iPad Air
Graphics / Sound Rating:
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It sounds crazy, but the App Store really does feel like the true successor to arcades. It’s full of tiny, extremely varied games still figuring out just what to do with a new entertainment technology and the new audience that comes along with it. Plus, lots of those games are trying to infinitely steal your money. Games like Meteorz make this metaphor even easier, in a good way.
In Meteorz players work to protect planets each going through their own personal Armageddon, as in the Bruce Willis movie. Meteors hurtling towards the planets threaten to destroy them, so players hop between worlds to defend them. If the minimal, angular, crystalline sci-fi visuals and haunting spacey synth songs weren’t enough of a throwback, each round plays something like a modern version of arcade classic Asteroids. However, instead of piloting a spaceship, players rotate armed defense satellites around the fixed planet to target obstacles.
On its own, endlessly blasting meteors would grow tiresome, but Meteorz fleshes out its systems quite nicely. There’s little difference between the planets that periodically pop up, but players are encouraged to revisit them due to the importance of loot. Resources like debris and rare comets that must be shot down aid players in various ways between missions. Comet pieces activate screen-clearing special attacks while debris levels players up and gives them access to new weapons. Players can equip two satellites, one they control directly and another that provides automatic support. But with a surprisingly creative array of offensive options to purchase and choose from, experimenting with the right equipment becomes a hidden joy. A standard cannon paired with close-range lasers works fine, but doesn’t a portal gun along with a tractor beam sound way more exciting?
Meteorz doesn’t fully cover up the grind-heavy parts of its gameplay, but it mitigates them with plenty of great incentives to re-enter the fray. It may look like the end of the world(s), but it doesn’t have to be.