Don’t be fooled by it’s ‘mini’ title, this game packs a huge amount of fun!… With all the shooters available on the AppStore – some keeping to their classic roots, and others offering something new – it’s ever more important to create a title that stands out of the crowd. This can be done with fancy graphics, or unique control options. Mini Squadron does well in both these areas, but it is it’s charm that puts it above the competition. It oozes it!
On the face of it Mini Squadron looks like a standard, wave based, side scroller. You are tasked with battling it out to take control of the airspace around an island. Each area is one level, but is divided into waves of 12. Using a well implemented virtual joystick, and a one button-to-fire set up, you must skilfully dogfight your way to glory. Enemies come in all shapes and sizes, and unlike many wave based games don’t appear in predictable formations or follow set paths. Instead each feels as if it’s injected with it’s own personality and will to live, right down to their own identity which you learn if you are taken down by one of them, followed by the sound of their laughter as you tumble to the ground.
While the aircraft you fly are mini in size, your squadron is plentiful. As you progress and fulfil various achievements, you unlock new aircraft… these can be selected before each level, or at the checkpoint, should you come a cropper. Each aircraft features different stats. One for instance may be slow, or less aerobatic, but it may have more powerful weaponry. You start with a basic, and pretty manoeuvrable craft, but with only single bullet fire. But later you’ll unlock laser wielding craft that can turn on a sixpence.
There are power ups a plenty too. The cool thing is they are not limited to you to pick up, the crafty little enemies can get them too. This includes slowing down time, speeding up time, dropping balls of fire, cloaking, invincibility and even a gigantic front mounted laser beam.
Visually it’s quite special too. It might not be to everyone tastes, but it features a great cartoon art-style, with many different looking craft. Topped off by a great effect that sees each aircraft’s exhaust fumes dance and spiral merrily behind it.
Sound unfortunately is it’s weakest point. I’ve grown to love it’s odd choice of classsical music, but the lack of engine noise takes away some necessary aural feedback to your actions, particularly when you are diving or stalling. The weapons sounds more than make up for this though.
Overall, Mini Squadron is a fantastic shooter. Combining a retro feel, with something that feels fresh and new. Add in great pick-up-and-play gameplay and a hectic multiplayer experience (local only), and I can’t recommend it enough for shooter fans.
Mini Squadron is out now and on sale for $0.99
Lite version available for free