Miniature Germans Beware
There’s a series of these you know, games beginning with the letter ‘i’. Ignore the fact that pretty much everything has been prefixed with ‘i’ since Apple made it cool, (there’s even a one-man opticians on my street run by a former fisherman called i, Eye, Aye). I’m talking about Chillingo’s former entrants into the WWII-‘em-up genre with iBomber, that saw you dropping bombs from the sky, iBomber Defense – a (surprise, surprise)Tower Defense title and now the newly released iBomber Attack, which has you roaming round in a tank, blasting holes in World War Two era Europe.
Like all good top-down tank shooters, it’s a top-down tank shooter. Glad we got that sorted then. Various missions are meted out which generally include destroying outposts, collecting intel and shooting miniature Germans in the iballs. Gold can be snatched from any buildings or vehicles you destroy and used to purchase a range of upgrades. Foolish Nazi’s keeping all their money in trucks and barns. Did no one ever tell them about the advantages of a Premium Bond?
It’ll remind you of the vintage GTA games at first. But then, I suppose you could say that about most top-down shooters. Twin sticks control your vehicle – one for movement, one for directional firing. They work just well enough in their default setting, but after an initial adjustment period in which you’ll probably be driving round in Mr Bean-like circles doing your best impression of a tank driver attempting to blow up his own vehicle, you’ll find the controls serviceable, but never entirely comfortable. Upgrades can help in this department, mind you.
The best part of the game is definitely the range of weapons on offer. Beefing up your tank to include flamethrowers, mini-guns and even the ability to call in airstrikes is fun, as is the feeling of using an ever more powerful weapon to gleefully mow down scores of little Germans. That doesn’t sound very politically correct does it?
Graphics are sharp, and details such as tire tracks in the grass and the little splatters of blood the soldiers leave behind add to the appeal. To be honest you might find those same splatters a mite disturbing at first. But then of course, you’ll pump another 400 rounds into someone else and swiftly forget about it. The overall design of the game is also well-penned and humorous with forces in the tutorial depicted as jolly cartoon peanuts with instructional captions such as ‘Practice your war face’ and ‘Know your enemy. They are the ones shooting at you’. It’s a shame this ironic sense of fun wasn’t brought over to the main game as it’s pretty much a standard shooter from there on in. It doesn’t help that the environments quickly get repetitive either, but war takes place is fields and ditches, so what’s a developer to do?
That there’s no room for an on-screen mini-map is fairly irritating. Ambling round the levels, you’re not always entirely sure where you’re supposed to be heading unless you pause the game to orient yourself on the pause-screen map which reveals more of the environment the further you wade into it. Is this the famous Fog of War?
It’s a fun-enough blaster that will keep you entertained for a few hours before the next installment of the ‘i’ series comes along. A forest shooter where the aim is to hunt your dinner perhaps? Great ideer anyone?