This straight-forward bullet hell shooter certainly has its charms…
Unfortunately, games can’t all get by on charm alone. Front Runner is the latest game from Tactile Entertainment, who brought us the crazy game Crazy Test, as well as the advanced pet game, Pocket Creatures. I really enjoyed Crazy Test despite it’s simplicity. Front Runner is also simple, but not necessarily in a good way.
The story is very light, but from what I gathered, you play as a woodwind instrument playing alien who is travelling through space when a bad alien sticks his tongue out at him. IT’S ON! You proceed to blast through 3 different sets of levels, each with it’s own unique boss. You start out being able to level up basic abilities like speed and your main gun. Soon you pick up the abilities from each boss you defeat and can start leveling those up as well. You do so by collecting musical notes from enemies you destroy.
The process of upgrading and completing the game took me around 30-40 minutes, and wasn’t much of a challenge. After you complete the game, you unlock an endless survival mode to see how far you can get. You score for this mode is submitted to Game Center and/or Open Feint, and there are also achievements included. The game controls fairly well, but sometimes your finger gets in the way of gameplay, since you have to follow your ship closely with your finger. Tilt controls would have been nice.
While Front Runner isn’t a bad game, there’s nothing to really make stand out from other bullet hell shooters out there. It’s certainly a cute quick play title that will suck you in for the short game time, but there’s not much reason to return after the brief experience, unless you’re someone who is really hooked on leaderboards… or rather, a leaderboard. If you’re looking for a solid, but brief, bullet hell distraction, Front Runner may be worth your buck.
Note: While playing this game on an iPhone 4, I experienced several crashes. For the most part, the game saved my data, so it didn’t impact this review much. The developers have been notified.