By Peter Magers on Wed, 04/04/2012
Endless War, a vertical space shooter recently launched by Omnitel, Inc. is a satisfying, if not particularly imaginative, take on alien blasting.
Endless War proposes a future in which human beings have given up all endeavors aside from surviving an endless outer space combat situation. It’s a strictly kill or be killed war with no end in sight, as the name helpfully points out. Of course that’s heaven to bullet hell lovers—cut out the extraneous narrative and get right into the action. Unlike some other titles in this genre, though, Endless War doesn’t focus on maneuvers or even flight strategies to an overwhelming extent. The game’s primary goal is building a ship that takes damage and dishes it out—not one that’s nimble enough to avoid it. While that’s a bummer to those who want to dodge enemy fire, it makes Endless War far more optimal for touchscreen play than some of its App Store competitors.
When you’re limited to iPhone and iPod Touch touchscreen real estate, it pays to streamline controls and Endless War has done an exceptional job of just that. The ship fires automatically, and the pacing of the game means that necessary maneuvers won’t keep your fingers cluttering up the field of battle excessively. Specialty items and broad range attacks are handled by a few right hand icons that don’t interfere with the carnage, while moving the ship is accomplished by sliding it directly on the screen.
There are hits you’re just going to have to take, and to avoid the most dire damage, your ship is going to have to be devastatingly effective at destroying enemy aircraft. That puts maintaining, upgrading, and perfecting your ship’s defenses and offenses at the tip top of your priority list. The devs clearly recognized this and designed the game around the concept, making building an unstoppable air tank a lot of fun. There are six types of weapons, including lasers, plasma (think ultimate laser), machine guns, missiles, and so forth. 4 are “main” weapons and two are extension arms. You’re heavily endowed upon download with enough coins to get you started, but play a few rounds and figure out what you need as you go. There are three types of ship to choose from, each having different starting stats, and you can save up to three profiles—each ship type essentially creates a different gaming experience. It’s a clever way of increasing Endless War’s replay value.
Naturally, upping stats and buying new toys isn’t going to keep you coming back if the overall experience isn’t phenomenal. What Endless War lacks in innovation, however, it makes up in solid, professional polish. The fifteen stages offer an ever changing array of enemy fighters displaying different fight patterns and weaponry, each represented by its own unique aesthetics. Each of the stages is a different planet, with a finely textured background and its own challenges. And the soundtracks are pleasantly varied, from classic rock-ish guitar rips to dance-y techno as the backdrop for your alien annihilating fireworks.
Endless War drops at $0.99, a fabulous price for a solid pick up and play game. It’s available now in the iTunes App Store; download and enjoy!