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iPhone review of the day: Critical Wave – what if Geometry Wars had boss battles?

Game: Critical Wave
Price: $0.99
Size: 10.3 MB
Get it now on the iTunes store:US

Thanks to the now-crusty Geometry Wars, twin-stick shooters are absolutely everywhere. And that includes the App Store, where the genre is oversaturated despite the iPhone’s lack of control sticks. But Critical Wave is still worth playing for its great upgrade system, some formidable enemy baddies, and a unique control scheme.

The basic set-up is the same as every other twin-stick shooter. You’ll fight off a never ending wave of enemies, with the goal of racking up as many points as possible. As you progress the enemies will get tougher, become more aggressive, and move quicker. You’ll also have to face-off against an ever evolving boss creature. With each new stage it’ll grow larger and become outfitted with a bigger arsenal of weapons. But you get stronger too, purchasing upgrades to weapons ranging from a straight-up laser gun to homing missiles.

By default, the game uses tilt controls. They can be swapped for the usual twin sticks, but we like the tilt controls better. They make Critical Wave feel like a cross between Geometry Wars and Tilt to Live. With this control scheme, you’ll only control your tiny glowing ship’s movement, while the game will automatically fire your main weapon, homing in on the closest bad guy. There are also special weapons, like the aforementioned missile volleys, that are controlled by on-screen buttons.

While Critical Wave looks and feels like yet another Geo Wars clone, the tilt controls help it stand out. As we said, you can switch the controls to use virtual joysticks and still have a very solid game – it’s just not quite as original then. The default controls take a little time to get used to, but they also make Critical Wave a rare twin-stick shooter that actually has something new to offer.

Dec 23, 2010