Many a nerd has dreamed of piloting his own starship into battle. They’ve fantasized of being Red leader at the battle of Yavin. Well, maybe Red 5, at least he doesn’t get shot down by the Death Star. Anyway, epic space battles are wonderful part of being a sci fi geek. They get your adrenaline pumping in zero g. Do this iOS title get your heart racing?
Starship Battles might have you a bit confused when you start. You can look around in a giant bit of space and wait for incoming ships. Only after a few minutes of gameplay do you realize that this is just like a tarted up, horizontal Missile Command.
The controls are as simple as could be. You have to defend your ship from the onslaught of rival starships of all shapes and sizes. You do this by tapping on the screen to shoot a laser to that point where it explodes. Only the explosion does any damage, so you have to work out the timing and placement of your shots based on the distance from your own starship. It is a really refreshing take on the old style of gameplay.
You can also tap on meteorites of ore to collect bonuses and upgraded weapons. You can also change weapons and use a devastating missile-like energy bomb to destroy the larger capital ships that invade your space. You want to take them down as soon as you can since they release more tiny ships that hurtle your way and threaten your energy shields.
The longer you survive in Starship Battles, the more difficult to survive it becomes. You end you going down gloriously in a cloud of searing lasers and explosions for two dozen different ships hurtling towards you. When you do finally lose, there is a sense of accomplishment that you’ve taken down as many enemies as you possibly could. You go out in a blaze of glory.
The graphics in Starship Battles is suitable. They are neither retina searing nor dull. They fit right down the middle; satisfactory. They are retro enough to imply their debt to Missile Command, but modern enough not to look dated.
Where Starship Battles is lacking is in variety. There is really only one gameplay scenario which involves enemies hurtling towards you and you shooting them down. It might be a bit more varied if you could use the thrusters on your ship to move out of the way so they have to circle back around giving you more time to mount your defenses. In a real starship battle you wouldn’t just be sitting there like a dead duck floating in space. You would listen to some of Admiral Ackbar’s advice and, “take evasive action.”
Overall, Starship Battles is a solid little game that will remind you of the days you spent in the arcade pumping quarters into the Missile Command machine. It is proof that some of the oldest gameplay styles still holds up today and that is always a good time.