Originally released on Xbox Live Indie games last year, this bastard child of Space Invaders and Geometry Wars is now available on iOS… and it’s all the better for it.
There is certainly no shortage of neon-coloured shooters on the AppStore, but despite this there are only a few that light the genre on fire. Super Crossfire HD does just that, offering a unique twist on Space Invader-like proceedings.
The object of the game – like most shoot’em’ups – is to take out wave-after-wave of alien invaders. Controlling your ship is your standard fare too, moving from side to side with a combination of attacking and avoiding the enemy. What spices things up though is the ability to warp to the opposite side of the playing field (vertically). This switches up both your defence and strategy, allowing you to attack the invaders from the rear (ooh-err) by surprise, or use it as a defensive measure to avoid a bevy of bullets.
The game is structured across five chapters of increasing difficulty, each containing around 30 waves (plus bonus waves). Enemies range from small to large, exhibiting varied attacks such as plasma bullets, strong beams, and warp blocking (stopping you from warping up and down the screen). The objective, of course, is to rid the play area of all enemies, before moving on.
This task is made more difficult by the enemy shields. Some of the bigger invaders are protected by shields which are powered by small generators. These generators must be destroyed before they will take any damage from your bullets. Other invaders have direction-based shields, meaning that you can only attack them by warping behind them, to which they quickly switch to match your position.
There is a quicker way to take out any enemy though, and that’s with the Super beam. As you take out enemies, they drop gems. If you collect enough gems you can power-up your super beam, allowing to unleash a beam that cuts though enemies with ease.
Just like Space Invaders, occasionally a saucer will appear, and you can shoot it to collect bonus items such as increased gems, and shields. Further upgrades to your ship can be found in the mid-chapter upgrade store, allowing you to spend victory points on powering up your ship in areas such as ship speed, shot power, and gem collection speed, giving you the edge on the attacking hordes.
Victory points also allow you to unlock specials, which can be unlocked in the main menu. These include items such as the doubler, which doubles points and gems; warp wipe which wipes out enemy bullets when you warp; and more useless ones like Musician which unlocks a music player (though I haven’t wanted to access a games tunes in a music player since the MegaDrive days).
The presentation is nothing we’ve not seen before, nor is the pumping techno soundtrack. However, combined with the excellent shooter dynamics and great touch controls (stick with the default set up which works like a dream) Super Crossfire HD could quite possibly one of the most addictive shoot’em’ups I’ve played. Much like Space Invaders, Super Crossfire doesn’t try and bring too much to the party (though Space Invaders was limited to the technology of the time). I found that I was so engrossed in the intense battles that I didn’t miss such things as boss encounters, or extra modes to break up the seemingly unstoppable action. Instead it’s good to see a game focussing on delivering a tight shooter experience, without all the fluff that can result in a diluted experience. What you see is pretty much what you get with Super Crossfire HD, and it’s great.