Recontroller review
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Recontroller review

Our Review by Campbell Bird on February 22nd, 2024
Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: VISUAL VALUE
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This stylish shooter is little more than a fun visual spectacle, and that’s ok.

Developer: Tomoya Uchiike

Price: Free
Version: 1.02
App Reviewed on: iPad Pro

Graphics/Sound Rating: starstarstarstarstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar

Style over substance can only get you so far, but it works out quite well if you're only going on a short journey. Recontroller does exactly that. In addition to being a sort of visual mind-trip, this game doesn't ask much of you in return but to relax and enjoy its wild aesthetic, and it ends right about when you might expect to get tired of it.

Shoot and spin

Recontroller is a wave-based arena shooter where you play as a pixelated person who is endlessly rotating in a void. To begin the game, you tap to launch a wave and then use one side of the screen to move your avatar around and hold down on the other to shoot. The goal of every wave is to make it through alive, which means not getting hit by an enemy twice within what is usually around a minute-long period.

As you kill enemies and advance through waves, your character levels up, which generally means that the amount of projectiles that fly out of your character when you fire increases. Everything progresses this way through 15 or so levels, including three bosses, before you reach the game's end.

Supported by style

This might all sound almost boringly straightforward, and that's because in a lot of ways it is. The thing that makes Recontroller stand out is how its action looks. With some heavy filtering, use of 2D and 3D graphics, and clever visual design choices, Recontroller is a visually chaotic gameplay experience that can be overwhelming but also somehow still legible and easy to play.

Tons of enemies may rush onto the screen, but you always know where to expect them from following the neon trails that signal their arrival. Your projectiles are a dull gray which reduces the amount of visual clutter as they bash against the brightly colored enemies to kill them. And all the while, you can see what wave you are on, how much health you have, and how much time you have left to survive by looking into the abyss you are floating through, as that information is repeated infinitely into the background.

Easy trip

No matter your skill level, you can pretty easily complete Recontroller in a sitting or two. Not only is the shooting gameplay somewhat easy, but also leveling up is a permanent upgrade that follows you between deaths. So, if you find yourself dying a few times on a particular level, it is only a matter of time until you level up to the point that all the enemies die faster so you can move onto the next wave.

Recontroller is also not especially deep, but considering it is a free game that asks very little of you, these qualities all end up complimenting each other. I couldn't see enjoying a version of this game that tried to be more punishing or--worse--much longer than it already is. It's just a short and sweet exploration of a somewhat trippy aesthetic and then it's done.

The bottom line

There's not a whole lot to Recontroller besides being a chill visual spectacle. That said, it accomplishes this simple task without wasting your time or asking you to spend money. Seems like a fair trade to me.

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