Back in 2008 I was dubious about turning my spanking new iPhone into a gaming device. I was new to the App Store, and the ordinary gaming sites I used to frequent like IGN and Gamespot didn’t report much about the Apple phone. I found TouchArcade, and they had a review for Blue Defense! posted on November 12 2008. I was highly dubious getting the game as I hadn’t converted from my Nintendo DS yet. A dollar later I was playing the first game that really made me understand that the iPhone could be used for gaming. Now almost two years later the sequel is here.
It has been a busy time between 2008 and 2010 for developer John Kooistra, mastermind behind Cat in a Box Games. After defending the blue planet in Blue Defense! we got to strike back in highly enjoyable Blue Attack! We got to play a RTS set in the Blue vs Red universe in the third game Red Conquest! A cool action RPG devoid from all space references emerged not long ago to fill the byte sized RPG need: Fastar! Somehow John has also managed to get Blue Defense: Second Wave! out a couple of months later.
In the Blue Defense games you control the cannons of a planet. The sequel offers two control methods: tilt and touch. In tilt the cannons autofire, and you simply rotate the phone to fire. This works well, but is a hassle if you use headphones. The new touch controls with multitouch are awesome. You have a stream of fire that you can divide in different directions either setting target looks or twist your fingers around the planet. It gets really hectic, and Blue Defense: Second Wave! is probably one of the most intense games on the iPhone. Removing target locks, setting new ones, using the powerful planet cannon, and trying to figure out what the enemy will do next has to be done really quickly.
Whenever an enemy invades the planet the population decreases, and as casualties become too high the game ends. Generally this is a rather quick process once the enemy has found a hole in the defences. For some reason it always feels like I am in control up to that point, and this is why the game gets that “one more try” thing going.
The presentation of the series is great, and the abstract organisms attacking always mesmerize me…until I blow them to smithereens of course. The universe feels believable, and the cool effects look great against the dark backdrop of space. The sounds of small explosions are accompanied by a soundtrack that is somewhere between hope and doom in feeling. I get the same feeling that I get from the Halo soundtracks.
There is one thing that bothers me about Blue Defense: Second Wave!, and that is that there are too many game modes. To me there would have been enough to simply play two of them. The classic infinite game where the planet is doomed, and highscores is all there is to win is great. But I also enjoy the new gauntlet mode where you have to survive a set number of waves, and there can be a good ending to the fray. I get somewhat confused when I get too many options, and this is a problem also seen in Fastar! To learn the different enemies, and paths I would like a more streamlined experience.
Blue Defense: Second Wave! is a brilliant game to play for that ten minute break, or on the bus. It lacks long term appeal due to both being so intense, and because there are too many modes and choices to make. If you want to have something that feels just as fresh as two years ago, and that blasts away most of the competition when it comes to intensity definitely consider Blue Defense: Second Wave!
Blue Defense: Second Wave! $0.99 Universal
Seller: Cat in a Box Games
Tested on an iPhone 4.