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Latest App – iDracula

While the AppStore has been littered with countless games over the past few months, few games have managed to stand out and become must-own titles. Fieldrunners did it. Rolando did it. And now, thanks to it’s successful attempt to bring the twin-stick shooter to the iPhone, it’s level of graphical polish, and it’s downright addictive gameplay, iDracula readily joins their ranks.

Twin stick shooters, as a genre, have been around for a long time. They had their start back in 1982 with Robotron 2084, were popularized in the early 90’s with games like Smash TV, and have recently enjoyed a resurgence thanks to popular console titles like Geometry Wars and Everyday Shooter. But what made them all common — what made them all twin stick shooters — was the one thing that would have made bringing them to the iPhone damned-near impossible; twin sticks.

With their fast paced, twitch shooter gameplay, twin stick gameplay was dependent on it’s two physical joysticks to react to the action on screen; the left stick to control motion, the right to control direction of fire. Mapping those directional controls to the iPhone’s touch panel was possible, but at the same time sounded ridiculous. Without something physical to grip, could a gamer really react quickly enough to tackle everything coming at them? And what about screen size? Could you really get a good handle on the enemies coming in at you with a handheld device and your thumbs blocking the invading forces? The team behind iDracula had the answer; slow it down.

By no means does that mean that iDracula moves at a slow pace. But with the reduced screen size, lack of actual sticks, and thumbs blocking a portion of the playfield, bringing iDracula to a pace appropriate for the platform was a necessity. If Geometry Wars speed was at the proverbial Spinal Tap 11, then iDracula moves at about an 8. It solves the dilemma of sticklessness and it solves the dilemma of size.

Controls are simple, intuitive, and responsive. Your left thumb goes on the left circle and controls movement. Your right thumb goes on the right and control direction of fire. For many twin stick shooters, that’s about all you can say. iDracula takes things further. The game offers a series of weapons, perks, and demons that ensure the gameplay evolves the longer you survive.

As you slay hordes of werewolves, ghosts, witches and other monsters, you’ll collect ammunition and unlock new weapons from their corpses. Initially you’ll be defending yourself with a single shot pistol. As the game progresses you’ll be firing everything from a crossbow to a grenade launcher. Each weapon has it’s own pluses and minuses, meaning you may find yourself switching for the different situations you encounter. The machine gun, for example, has a high rate of fire but only damages one enemy at a time. The grenade launcher on the other hand is slower but can take out a whole group of monsters in one shot. Since you’ll be tasked with gathering you’re own ammo, you’ll often find yourself running out and switching to other weapons. That means you’ll have to balance your time between your favorite weapons and the weapons that are just good enough to get the job done.

As you progress through countless waves of monsters, you’ll be upgrading more than your choice of weapons. Each time you upgrade a level you’ll earn access to a new “perk.” Perks are modifiers that will affect the way the game is played. Some perks will increase your rate of fire when your health is low. Others will improve how far back the bad guys stumble when shot. There’s a pretty wide variety of perks offered that range anywhere from improving your health to telekinetically drawing ammo and health drops towards you. You’ll get to select your perk from a randomly generated list of four each time you level up. Depending on the combination of perks you select, the game will feel marginally different on each play.

All of the aspects of the game outside of the actual mechanics have that same level of polish discussed above. Visually, the game creates it’s own unique look. It becomes clear upon first glance that a painstaking level of detail and love went into making the character models look as original and identifiable as possible. If you were to ever see one of iDracula’s werewolves outside of the game, you’d likely find it to be instantly recognizable. The artwork is distinctive and helps to build the game’s panic-attack-horror atmosphere. The original audio score, blending rock and club vibes in an early 90’s kind of way, contributes greatly to this as well.

iDracula is available on the iTunes App Store. Normally priced at $2.99.

Source: Macapper.com

This entry was posted on Monday, March 9th, 2009 at 5:09 am and is filed under iPhone App Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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