Review by Nigel Wood
Retro gaming is big business, with classics such as Pac Man, Dig Dug and space invaders still selling, and on a new breed of games machines. The original Tempest by Atari, is one of those retro classics. Released in October, 1981. Tempest required you to survive as long as you can through wave after wave of enemies. The game took place on a three-dimensional tube made up of vector lines. Enemies move towards you and it’s up to you to traverse the lines from left to right in your claw shaped starship to take out the baddies.
Vector blaster by Rude Scotsman (great name), is a tempest clone, and a great one at that. It features the same vector based graphics and the core game is similar. Using the touch screen, you drag your left thumb up and down to control your ships left to right movement. This allows you to traverse each line of the tube to take out the enemy ships, to shoot simply tap the screen with your right thumb. As well as enemy ships, powerups will appear and you must pick those up to upgrade your ship with twin or tri blasters, as well as pick up energy and extra lives. As more and more enemies appear, it can get pretty intense balancing shooting and pickups. If you miss an enemy ship it will take out your path, preventing you from reaching parts of the tube. Later levels feature other shaped tubes, some easier to traverse than others. And other enemies appear, such as motherships shooting more enemies at you, and blue ships which take more shots to take out.
As well as the cool retro graphics, the game features an awesome musical score… which of course is in an 8bit retro style. Sound effects are equally satisfying, and really took me back to the good old days of my ZX Spectrum.
It’s not all good though. When booting up the game you are dumped straight into the action, with no menu screen, options, or saved games. All you get is a start screen and if you wait a few seconds a high score screen will appear. Once in the game there is no way to exit and resume play, and pause is broken, with no way to enable it except from time to time when the game decides to pause it for you. For people who like their Coin Op arcade games then these issues may not pose a problem. But for me I’d like to see a menu system with audio settings, high scores when I want them, the ability to pick up where I left off and also extra control options such as tilt control would sweeten the deal.
Overall, I had a blast playing Vector Blaster. The action gets intense in later levels, and it can get pretty addictive, especially with the fantastic musical score. Let’s hope some of the bugs get ironed out, but don’t let that stop you picking it up on the App Store because even with its drawbacks, it’s still a great retro game.
Presentation & Graphics: 6
This is a clone of a classic, and it’s graphics are in keeping with that era. So keeping that in mind then the graphics are pretty good, runs smooth and feature some nice vector effects. Some more effort int eh games front end would make this great game even better.
The music sounds like it was made on a Casio keyboard circa 1982. But that’s the point… it’s awesome! Good sound effects too.
Simple arcade shooter action. Survive and aim for high scores. This is classic gaming goodness.
Game life: 6
Plenty of levels, but this is arcade style gaming… Die and it’s back to square one. No unlockables or extras, it’s slimmed down to get you straight into the action, and it’s an addictive little time sucker.
Game rating: 8
Love tempest? You love Vector Blaster. Don’t like tempest… then your are in the wrong place, and quote possibly insane! For $2.99 it’s a no brainer. Vector Blaster is available now on the App store, here.