If ExZeus was a person, it would be a loud, brash and ever so slightly irritating person. You know the type! Maybe it’s the office fool who thinks they are funny but always cross the line. Or, the guy or girl at the party who’s off their face on tequila and think they can take everyone on. Or, that little bully who thinks he’s a lot bigger than he is, hiding behind a large group of even less intelligent brutes. It’s a loud, action packed straight up, in your face, arcade action game… and it doesn’t try to hide it in anyway.
The music is your typical over-the-top Japanese style pop rock, you’ll find in most arcade games. The voice work is brash, announcing everything in loud mono-tone action hero style delivery. The graphics follow the same style… big, blocky worlds, teaming with non-stop enemies, and huge robotic over the top bosses showering you with fire. It’s everything you’d expect from a Japanese arcade shooter, and for that, it delivers! There’s a story there somewhere too, but it’s not important. Something about aliens I seem to remember! But you don’t play this type of game for the story, it’s all about the in-your-face action… right?
From the off you choose from three mech-suited warriors. They differ in their abilities, one may be faster, while the other will have more powerful weapons, and so on so you can choose what best suits you. (Hint: Most powerful weapons, silly!) Once selected, you’re dropped right into the action.
Controls are good for the most part, You have weapons controls mapped to left and right sides of the screen. Touch the right side to fire your weapon, and touch left to initiate and enemy lock-on for missiles, touching the fire button will release the missiles, as well as your regular laser fire. Motion is controlled using the accelerometer, and it’s my biggest gripe with the game. I found it to be way too sensitive. Yes this is edge of your seat twitch gaming, but I still want to feel in control. Left and right motion is fine, but I found the up and down movement way to sensitive, and a bit of a chore to keep the mech level. Thankfully you can bring the sensitivity right down in the options menu, and personally I would recommend you do it. As well as regular movement you can flick the iPhone left or right quickly to perform a StarFox like barrel roll, which is useful for dodging enemy fire [if you can see it!]
As you have no doubt gathered the action is pretty intense. It’s hard to tell what is shooting you and from where, so it occasionally feels a bit like you are blindly firing at enemies. To counter this, one of the best and most satisfying elements of the game is unleashing your huge laser. A bar near your shield tells you when it’s powered up, then you simply hold down the fire button and everything in your path will be obliterated. It’s also essential for taking out bosses without taking a hit on your lives and continues.
With this being an arcade style game, there’s no level progression saves, so once you’ve used up all your lives and continues, it’s back to the first level. This is a little annoying, especially for the less advanced gamer, who may never persevere long enough to reach the final levels. There is an auto save feature if you take a call or need to quit the game suddenly, which is good though.
Overall this is a very good arcade shooter, but if you’re into gentler action, this may not be for you. It’s certainly worth the $5.99 if you love the big thrills, spills and noise that is expected from a Japanese shooter such as this.
Presentation and graphics
Great mech models, and bosses… the regular enemies are a little generic, but you’ll be blowing them out of the sky most of the time so you won’t really notice. The environments, if a little blocky, look great too, with buildings and buses falling or blowing up around you. It looks like shooters available on the Dreamcast back in the day… which is compliment.
Loud… very loud. It won’t be to everyone’s taste, but the music is very fitting for the genre… as is the arcade style and, bordering on high camp, voice work. Sound effects are good too.
Very intense. You won’t always feel in control, but when you do it’s very satisfying. The boss battles are the best bit… oh, and yes that big old laser you can whip out from time to time. Controls feel a little loose, but this can be fixed in the options menu.
I get the idea of arcade games giving you a coin op experience, but sometimes I just want to continue where I left off, and to hell with practice make perfect. Some of you may not have the patience to finish it, though seasoned vets will love the challenge. With three suits, 4 difficulty levels and also upgrades to your mech suits in the in between level shop, there’s plenty to keep you occupied.
With ExZeus, Hyperdevbox have crafted the balls-to-the-wall action shooter that the iPhone’s been crying out for. It’s over the top, loud… and slightly mad. I wouldn’t have it any other way.