Gameloft pulls off a fantastic port of their popular mobile game with this single/co-op arcade classic!
As I stated in my preview of Siberian Strike, I have always been a fan of the old school top-down air plane arcade games. It started with 1942 by Capcom, but spread to other games like Raptor on the PC and so on. Needless to say, I was excited when I first played Siberian Strike, and am still excited, even after beating the game!
There’s not much to say about Siberian Strike’s gameplay. Is as standard as they go, and it’s awesome. You fly around shooting straight ahead while collecting powerups and special weapons. You have limited bombs that will clear the screen, or inflict a lot of damage on bosses. You also collect medals that will in turn unlock different color choices for your plane. The action is fast, and extremely difficult in the last two of the four difficulties. These can be unlocked by beating the game on normal and hard modes respectively.
The visual/audio experience of Siberian Strike is fairly impressive all around. Rather than stick with the old style sprite graphics that were used in the original game, Gameloft decided to go with a stylized 3D engine that both performs well, and looks good. It’s not amazing compared to other Gameloft games, but it seems they were trying to keep the style of the old sprite games, so it works. The bosses look particularly cool. The sound track is very good, and brings a very classic war movie feel to the game. No sound issues to speak of.
The plot of Siberian Strike isn’t deep, and doesn’t need to be. It’s pretty much the classic “Russia bad. You good. Kill Stalin.” kind of classic story. The opening cinematic is quite entertaining, and feels like one those old black and white PSAs they showed in cinemas during the World Wars. You can choose between 3 characters, each with their own stats on speed and power. I’ll be honest, I couldn’t tell any different between the three during gameplay, but I did notice that they all react differently to the pre-mission dialogue. So you can play the game with different characters to get a different story experience (although the plot is the same).
While talking about characters, I can’t overlook the awesome voice acting in Siberian Strike. Gameloft could have easily just used on screen dialogue (which it does anyways), but they instead took it to the next level with some great B movie style voiceovers between missions. The enemies you encounter can be quite entertaining, and having real voices really adds to the fun.
One delightful surprise in Siberian Strike are the 3D “rail-shooter” levels that take the classic Starfox view of your plane as you fly over and around obstacles in search of targets. This provided a nice break from the craziness of the normal missions, since it only requires you to dodge obstacles, and press fire when you lock onto targets automatically.
Let me close this review with both the best and the worst thing about Siberian Strike:
Siberian Strike features the best wifi multiplayer of any game I’ve played on the iPhone. This is how multiplayer should be on the iPhone, but for some reason it seems that developers have a really hard time achieving it. You can play through the entire game with a friend using a local wifi network… without any lag whatsoever. Seriously. The plague of iPhone multiplayer lag is a thing of the past with Siberian Strike. It was tons of fun to play the levels in co-op, and it softens up the harder difficulties. If you can get a friend to buy this game with you, you will both have a blast playing together.
Tilt controls SUCK. I’m not really sure what Gameloft was thinking on this one. It feels like your plane is snapping to certain sections of the screen, rather than just smoothly moving around. This was dissappointing, as I would have prefered tilt for this type of game. The touch controls are workable, but you have to follow your plane around with your finger, which is really annoying for levels where enemies come from behind (you can’t see them). You don’t have to put your finger on your plane, but this game could havef really done
with a joypad at the bottom of the screen that controls all the movements of your plane above it. The touch controls can also prove tough on the 3D flying levels as well, but ultimately they are passable.
Presentation & Graphics
Very cool stylized 3D graphics. Not the best, but very good for this type of game. The overall presentation is extremely polished, from the menus, to the opening and closing cutscenes.
Classic music like that heard in wartime PSAs from years ago. Great campy voice acting. Sound effects are also excellent, and there are no clipping errors from all the activity going on at once on the screen. Can’t ask for much more.
Even though tilt controls are useless, and the touch controls can get annoying, I still enjoyed this game, and was able to play it fairly well for the most part. However, I can’t imagine beating the hardest difficulty without the controls being tweaked a bit. The powerups are awesome, and when I thought I had tried everything, a new one was thrown in later in the game. Most of the bosses are actually kinda boring though, despite how threatening they look.
Multiplayer… that actually works! 14 regular missions plus a couple 3D missions. 4 difficulty levels. Great multiplayer. Local high scores. Different characters to play with. DID I MENTION THE MULTIPLAYER IS AWESOME!? Sure the game itself is fairly short, but replay value when playing with a friend is through the roof, especially when you can compete to gain rank faster than the other play as you progress.
Game Rating – EDITORS CHOICE
Other than the control issues, it’s really hard to say anything bad about Siberian Strike. The gameplay is fast and exciting, the graphics are slick, the sound is classy, and the multiplayer reaches a new level of quality in iPhone game development. You will thoroughly enjoy this game’s single player offerings, but the multiplayer is the sweet spot. Siberian Strike is pure arcade fun at it’s best.
P.S. Yes, it’s worth 6 bucks.