Version Reviewed: 1.2
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
Every so often every one of us needs to settle down with a good shoot-em-up. For one reason, it gives us an excuse to sound out gaming's best abbreviation ("shmup"). For another, many shoot-em-ups offer a chance to stretch out your hand muscles with uncomplicated twitch-based gameplay. That includes Son of Light.
Son of Light is a one-touch SHMUP. You maneuver your craft around alien ships and their projectiles, shooting automatically as you go. Destroying the enemy yields chunks of amber currency, as well as boost arrows.
The boost arrows are an interesting addition. Collecting them causes your ship to hit hyper speed for a few seconds (all the better to collect several at once). There's a gauge at the left side of the screen that tracks your ship's progress through a level, and when you reach the end of the gauge, you're thrown up against a boss. The faster your ship travels on that gauge, the more quickly you bust out of the mire of jobber ships to take on a level's true baddie.
You can expect to be slaughtered by said bosses - at least until you secure a few upgrades. Upgrades are funded through the aforementioned chunks of amber, and they include hit point upgrades, new guns, weapon adjustments, and lots more. Upgrades take time, but waits can be shortened by watching videos or paying up with more amber. It's always nice when a free-to-play game gives you options for getting around a tedious countdown, and watching a video ad is a fair trade-off.
If Son of Light has a noteworthy problem, it's that the controls aren't quite as crisp as they should be. This isn't a bullet-hell style SHMUP that flings projectiles at you from every angle (though it touts itself as one) but things do get busy on-screen, and having a slightly "floaty" ship can be a problem in tight squeezes. Luckily a single hit won't do you in. Instead you have a life bar that can be added to, though there's no recovery time in between hits so caution is still necessary.
Son of Light is a very decent SHMUP, especially for a free offering. Beginners in particular should find it easy to pick up, play, and enjoy.