AstroWings 3 for iPhone and iPad is the third title in the popular mobile shoot ’em up series, and it is the best yet, although it does fall quite far in terms of how it compares to games such as DoDonPachi on iOS.
That is not really a terrible thing, as AstroWings is a cheaper game, so if you are short on cash, this may be the better option. The game is a top down, vertical shooter, and it falls into the ‘bullet hell’ category, which means there can be hundreds of bullets on-screen at any one time, and you must weave in between them as best you can
You control the character Hera as she takes the reins of one of three ships, each with different attributes, although only one is unlocked at the beginning of the game. You control the ship with the tip of your finger, and it fires its weapons automatically. The ship will always follow your movements, wherever you are touching the screen, which means that you can try and keep your finger away from the action as much as possible.
I do have a small criticism here, and that is there are too many enemies that attack you from behind, which as you are controlling the game with your finger, means that it can be very difficult to avoid, or even see them. As this game was designed for touch screen, I would have expected this to be a rare occurance, but it happens all the time and can be very frustrating.
The levels of the game are very straightforward, as you simply have to get to, and beat, the boss. The weapon upgrade system is a bit too simple, however, as you just get weapon upgrades automatically as you destroy waves og enemies, and can choose to use special weapons that drain and reduce your power. It does work, but I would have liked to have seen a bit more complexity and depth here.
The game has a health bar, and if this is fully depleted, it is back to the very start of the level. The problem is, your health bar isn’t completely refilled when you start a level, unless that is, you purchase extra health from the in game store. I am not completely comfortable with this, as I don’t mind spending money on upgrades for the ship, or for unlocking more ships and levels, but to have to spend money to refill your health bar seems a bit much. You earn money and crystals in game to spend in the store, but more can be bought with an IAP.
The graphics are great, well designed and have a really nice and detailed look to them. A great touch by the developer is the option of selecting different levels of graphical detail, so the game will still run well on older devices. The music is also pretty cool, and there are different tracks for all the stages.
I really liked the way you hve to destroy weapon emplacements on the huge bosses, as it does make killing a boss feel more like an event. There are plenty of levels to get your teeth into, even if some of them are a little bit too lengthy.
Overall, this is a good shooter. The graphics and sound are really good, and the game plays really well. The combo and weapon upgrading system is perhaps a little too simple, and some levels do drag a bit, but this is still a decent and cheaper alternative to the Cave games.