I'm a total sucker for protagonists who are actually antiheroes, and in Sela the Space Pirate, our titular warrior is a complete sociopath, willing to destroy alien races for pure profit and bloodlust. Although her faithful, yet exasperated robot, Botte does all the fighting, Sela is always taking the credit. So why invest time with an unlikable person? If sensory overload is on your agenda, Sela the Space Pirate is the perfect fix.

Since I don't have any 2D, sci-fi side scrolling games on my iPad, Sela the Space Pirate will get heavy rotation for the next couple of weeks. But as much as I love killing aliens on my tablet, this title is more than your standard shoot 'em up. Right off the bat, you get three ways to blast your enemy: dual guns, spread shots, and a special lightning gun that's best used for ships and alien bosses.

A plethora of coins litter outer space during your battles, and you'll be spending them frequently for some much needed weapons upgrades. As a preferred mode of battle, I love spreading my bullets around, just to cover as much ground as possible.

Sela's continued verbal abuse of Botte will either be viewed with annoyance or pleasure, depending on the gamer's personality. Whether it's berating her sidekick, laughing off the bunny police force, or foolishly flying into an alien nest ambush, Sela's erratic behavior, for some odd reason, soothes my blackened soul.

The game doesn't skimp on aliens, and if you want a variety of creatures to kill, you won't be disappointed. Most of the monsters have some kind of insect influence in their makeup, so expect to slaughter tons of beetle and spider-looking cretins along the way. There are also flowers with eyes that shoot lasers in different directions and a cute alien bunny boss to deal with. Once several initial seconds of Sela's dialogue is over, each level features addictive action that never lets up.

With bullets and lasers flying everywhere, dying is easy business with Sela the Space Pirate. Three lives per level simply isn't enough to dodge all the firepower that hits the ship, and although there are armor upgrades along the way, I really didn't see much of a difference with all that extra protection. Unless you're the most artful dodger around, surviving the later rounds is a major feat.

My only complaint is the decision to place the buttons that switch your weapons at the top right and left of the screen. During the game, it's a bit of a nuisance to reach over and quickly tap to your weapon of choice, especially when a rainstorm of bullets are headed for the ship. Placing the tabs at the bottom of the device would have made for slightly more seamless game play. Still, it's a minor flaw that's more than made up for by the shooting and all that witty, robotic dialogue.

Sela the Space Pirate is a solid, shoot 'em up throwback which serves a heavy dose of action and sarcasm. I love games infused with a bit of a cheeky attitude, and Sela, even if she's crazed out of her mind, isn't afraid of a little action, especially if there's booty to be grabbed.


App Store Link: Sela the Space Pirate for iPhone & iPad | By The Game Atelier | Price: $1.99 | Version: 1.0.0 | 46.5 MB | Rating 9+

7.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating