Glandarius Wing Strike is a game that caught me entirely by surprise. It’s a top down shmup on the iPhone with visuals that make me nostalgic for the good old SNES days. It wasn’t the eye-catching sprites that surprised me, but the easy and intuitive controls.
Instead of some sort of dpad or joystick, players control their aircraft by tapping where they want it to go on the screen. If the plane is on the left of the screen, tapping on the right will make it fly quickly to that position. At first, I thought this was going to be clumsy and frustrating, but it works incredibly well and I was able to maneuver my plane in and out of perilous pockets of bullets with ease.
Tapping also releases a barrage of bullets from your plane for a second or two. Be prepared to be constantly tapping at the screen. This might sound annoying, but like movement, it becomes second nature. There is also a ‘lock on’ feature that locks on to up to 4 enemies on the screen by holding your finger down on the screen. Taking your finger off causes your plane to fire lasers at the locked on targets.
I am by no means a pro at shmups, but I was enjoying every second of Glandarius. The music is catchy and reminiscent of other games in the genre. The sound effects are crisp, as are the graphics. I couldn’t believe such a high quality shmup was available on such a tiny screen.
When my screen was flooded with enemies and bullets, I was expecting some slowdown, but noticed none. If I wasn’t convinced the iPhone was a viable gaming platform, this game would have done the convincing. The graphics alone would have convinced me, but the fact that the controls are so smooth make me worried for my DS’s sake.
This $5 game comes with five stages, which may seem too little, but each stage is packed so full of bullets and enemies (not to mention a mini-boss and a boss) that it’s well worth it.