Arguably, the vertical scrolling shooter is the first genre in the world of videogames. Titles like Space Invaders, Galaxians, and Galaga dominated arcades in the late 70s and early 80s. In today’s world of mobile gaming, the genre is on the comeback trail, led by these three top games for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
Warblade is a Modern Version of the Classic, Galaga
Warblade is an iPhone game that first saw release on the desktop, with PC and Mac versions both available. Developed by EMV-Software, a one-person Norwegian development shop, this title plays like Galaga on steroids, with a host of power-ups, bad-ass enemies, and gameplay twists adding replayability.
The game features excellent graphics running at a 60fps frame-rate. The control scheme effectively uses the iPhone’s accelerometer for ship movement, although a virtual direction button scheme can also be used. A convenient fire button lies at the bottom of the screen.
Although Warblade’s gameplay is that of a classic vertical shooter, some of the bonus levels veer into other genres, like asteroid-dodging or memory matching. It’s this kind of gameplay twist, along with top rank graphics and sound, that make Warblade stand out amongst other vertical shooters for the iPhone.
Buster Red Brings a Sense of Style to Vertical Shooters
Buster Red features hand-drawn graphics that give it a sense of style unlike any other vertical scrolling shooter. Developed by another one-person shop, Iskandar, Inc., this app also sports a host of interesting enemies and weapon power-ups.
The game’s control scheme uses the thumb to move the ship, with all weapons are constantly blazing using auto-fire. Quickly acquiring a few shield power-ups is essential for survival in the game’s early stages.
Leveraging the various weapon power-ups is the ultimate key to success in Buster Red. These power-ups, when acquired, show up as an icon next to the player’s ship. Tapping one of the icons triggers the super weapon. The Beam Buster is arguably the most powerful power-up; it will definitely help the player get through Buster Red’s higher levels.
Invaders World Tour for Gamers Nostalgic for Space Invaders
Invaders World Tour places the gamer in the role of defending the Earth from a collection of aliens slowly advancing down the screen. In short, this title is a Space Invaders clone with elements of Galaxians thrown into the mix.
Defending the Earth in Invaders World Tour takes places in various exotic locales, including New York City, Pisa, and Sydney. The game does a great job of capturing the essence of Space Invaders, with excellent location graphics providing a bit of color.
Thankfully, all three games support the iPhone’s OpenFeint social gaming network. OpenFeint provides worldwide leaderboards and achievements which greatly add to a game’s replayability.
Many fans of old-school arcade gaming are finding that Apple’s iOS 4 platform provides many options to get a taste of arcade nostalgia. These three titles, while hearkening to the past, bring enough modern flash to put them at the top of the list of iPhone vertical scrolling shooters.