Bugs Wars – review

This oddly titled shooter is not about bugs but, in actual fact, aliens…

The premise of the game couldn’t be simpler; shoot the aliens and save the humans. Bugs Wars comprises of multiple levels (or days in this case) where you must fend off wave-after-wave of various aliens while dim-witted humans prance about the level. On completion of a level, you have the ability to power up existing weapons or purchase new ones, as well as a receive a briefing on upcoming enemy types from your resident mad scientist.

bugswars01The presentation and graphics are a little bland; and while some of the aliens look the part and come in all shapes and sizes, they are low in detail. There are a lot of instances where creatures and humans alike, walk through each other and the environment. Something a simple collision detection routine would rectify. The animation is basic at best, including a strange floaty victory dance from the humans at the end of a level. The game is a universal app, but hasn’t’ been properly up-ressed for the iPad, with menu items and text exhibiting serious pixelation.

Where this game triumphs though, is with its control scheme and weapons. Instead of the usual twin stick shooter controls, your aiming reticule is controlled by a small section of the lower left hand of the screen in what could be compared to a track pad. Only small gestures are needed to cause the reticule to follow the same actions across the entire screen. This works very well and is a far better way of implementing a shooter without the need to tap all over the screen to aim.

bugswars02You have access to a maximum of four weapons at a time, from which you can scroll through in real-time. But, the game actually features 15 weapons in total from which you can choose from before each level/day. Your plasma machine gun will be your weapon of choice, but other favourites include the shotgun and the saw gun which, much like Dead Space, fires out circular saws to cut up the enemy. Weapons and ammo must be bought with money dropped by humans at the end of a wave. And the airforce also drop power ups such as smart bombs, health and extra ammo.

Despite the challenge of newer and stronger aliens, and balancing your less powerful weapons with your heavy – but ammo hungry – artillery, the difficulty level is little on the easy side. I think it needs to be set higher at the outset, as I got all the way to day 15 without dying once, which is a good hour or so into the game.

Overall, and despite some of the minor flaws in graphics and difficulty, the game is fun, thanks in huge part to the great control scheme. With a little more spit and polish this game could be a great budget shooter.


Available as a universal app for $1.99 (iPad version tested). Get it on the Bugs Wars - Chillingo Ltd

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