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iPhone review of the day: Solomon's Keep

On iPhone
Game: Solomon%26rsquo;s Keep
Price: $0.99 / %26pound;0.59
Size: 10.8 MB
Get it now on the iTunes store:US/UK

By now you%26rsquo;ve probably played enough twin stick shooters to last a lifetime or longer. They%26rsquo;re everywhere. On Xbox Live Arcade, the PlayStation Network, and especially the App Store. So why should you play Solomon%26rsquo;s Keep? Because it%26rsquo;s not so much a twin stick shooter as a twin stick dungeon crawler. And that%26rsquo;s something new. And awesome.

If you thought your school was challenging, you clearly didn%26rsquo;t attend the wizarding school in Solomon%26rsquo;s Keep. Instead of a final exam about math or English, you%26rsquo;ll need to fight your way through a multi level castle full of skeletons and zombies in order to graduate. Talk about a tough test.

The game controls like every other twin stick shooter out there. You move with the left stick and fire with the right. But you can%26rsquo;t just fire at will, because your magical weapons - which range from powerful bursts of fire to electrical homing missiles - require mana. Mana decreases as you fire but regenerates slowly over time, so you%26rsquo;ll have to carefully conserve it. You can%26rsquo;t just hold down fire like in most games. This adds a clever layer of strategy to the game, as does the multiple RPG style mechanics.

You%26rsquo;ll earn experience as you vanquish evil creatures and at each new level you%26rsquo;ll get options for how to improve your tiny blue wizard. You can increase mana capacity, learn new spells, or enhance existing ones. This gives you a lot of flexibility for how you customize your character, letting you make choices that best suit your play style.

Almost every twin stick game is about high scores and multipliers. Solomon%26rsquo;s Keep isn%26rsquo;t. It%26rsquo;s about exploration; finding your way through a dark and spooky castle, fighting evil creatures and gigantic bosses. It uses the twin stick set-up in an incredibly unique, and entirely satisfying way. Now go shoot yourself some skeletons.

Jan 26, 2011