Arm the cannon, all hands on deck, make sure this is the killing shot! The siren is sounding; the enemy has its shields down so the time is right. But better not haste in aiming as the enemy is still aiming at you, and your shields have already taken a hard beating.
Bombardiers Guild is a duel waged between two cannons trying to kill each other with well-placed shots. To aim you simply slide a slider beneath the cannon left and right, and to set power you have a slider to the right to slide up and down. If you just shoot directly at the enemy you won’t make more than a dent in the enemy shields. You have to get the missile to arc around the planets using gravitational pull to keep the missile on screen. The further it travels the more damage it does. The difference is really significant, and it is better to start experimenting with long trajectories right away instead of focusing on the enemy trying to kill you. You can shoot down enemy missiles, but that means that you have to aim for it totally spoiling your own offensive prowess.
The enemy AI is quite good, and it seems to become better once I manage to get some really powerful shots going. Even though you are under attack at all times the game feels a lot like the focus is on yourself, and your ability to calculate and adjust trajectories. Still I enjoy the opposition as it forces me to concentrate real hard in a completely different manner than a timer does.
There is initially a clear mission structure where you meet opponents from three different alien cultures. They have different ways to attack, ranging from impatient direct attacks to patient long winding attacks. Those focusing on creating powerful attacks are generally harder to beat but as they kind of creep up on you it is easy to underestimate them. I really like that the AI can play effective while using different temperaments. The mission structure fall away when you become a master Bombardier, and I think it is a shame as it limits my interest in playing further. The game is supposed to have 500 levels, but as more than 450 of these come after the short tutorial/story mode I found that just playing for statistics is not enough. I really think the game needs to continue with a story mode or some other kind of level progression.
The presentation in Bombardiers Guild is really top notch with a steampunk vibe to it all. The missiles gaining power paint the skies with their vapour trails in an Auditorium fashion. At times the game does seem a bit dark, and murky. The story is told in a short text introducing the task at hand, and I kind of like that minimal approach in a game that is about learning the ropes as a Bombardier.
The ambient music, and sound effects are also really good. The reloading cannon, fire and swoosh of the missile never get old to me. And the ominous siren that sounds when you or your enemy are out of shields gives me that extra focus to kill or be killed. As shields don’t regenerate when they are destroyed the sound can keep going for a while as only one missile is needed there is no need for powered missiles, and you can aim directly at the enemy cannon. You can play your own music, and keep the sound effects as well.
There is a two-player mode where you play at the same time on the same device. It works quite well, even though the odd nudge can “accidentally” mess up your friends aim. Whoops, sorry about that…I would never do something like that… No online functionality, which I think would be great for Bombardiers Guild. Turn based multiplayer would definately work. There are no online leaderboards either, but instead you get extensive scores and stats on your own device.
Bombardiers Guild is a really fun game to play, and to become a master Bombardier is a clear goal. Sadly once you become one there is not much left to experience, and a better level structure or longer story mode is needed. Those hours before reaching the title of master Bombardier were some of the most fun I have had playing an iPhone game. The intensity when the enemy start hitting your cannon with big shots is really hard to convey, but it really gets my heart beating. At $1.99 it is definitely worth picking up.
Bombardiers Guild $1.99
Seller: Johns and Stremplat Ltd