Last night, Ngmoco released their fourth iPhone game called Dropship [App Store]. The game was said to be inspired by both Geometry Wars and Thrust and it shows.

The retro-looking shooter puts you in command of a "Dropship" whose goal is to rescue stranded allies and also recover lost pods. The game is essentially a 2D game but set in a 3D environment. This causes some disorientation when you first play the game, but the end effect is remarkable.

The game succeeds on many levels, but perhaps the most critical piece that they got right were the controls. Your ship is controlled by your left and right thumb which can be placed anywhere on their respective sides of the screen. Left thumb controls thrust and right thumb controls the direction of firing. There is a slight learning curve to this control method, but it ultimately allows very good control of your ship and avoids the major problems that come with a fixed button system (using up screen real estate, and accidentally hitting the wrong button).

The game offers two basic modes of play: Free Play and Campaign.

"Free Play" is a more classic arcade mode in which you play progressively more difficult timed stages in which you must save a certain number of your allies before moving on to the next level. You will have to fight off turrets, tanks and interceptors in the meanwhile. Your ship loses energy as you take on damage, but this can be resupplied by collecting the blue debris left by your destroyed enemies.

"Campaign" mode offers 18 missions in which you must recover a lost pod. You have to descend the level with your Dropship while fending off enemy cannons. Once you find the lost pod, you must pick it up with your tractor beam and fly back to the surface. But the pod can easily become dislodged if you go to fast or hit obstacles, so you have to be a bit cautious.

As an added bonus, extra levels can be downloaded from within the app itself, with three additional levels already available. The mechanics of the game are well balanced which makes this a very fun and highly recommended game easily worth the $1.99 asking price.

This gameplay video shows off both Free Play and Campaign modes (low bandwidth version):

Game Details
Name: Dropship (v1.00) Price: $1.99 [Buy]
Developer: Ngmoco Size: 8.7 MB
Device: Tested on iPhone 3G
Dropship is a retro-styled shooter that draws inspiration from Geometry Wars and Thrust. Great controls, gameplay and sound track come together into what's certainly the best shooter currently available on the iPhone, and may even be one of the best games for the platform.

TouchArcade Rating

  • Sky Blue

    dang, these cheap games are doing me in. Looks like I'll have to invest in this.

  • Sky Blue

    dang, these cheap games are doing me in. Looks like I'll have to invest in this.

  • Old Man J

    I commented on a previous entry regarding this game, but this title deserves another comment. It is GREAT!

    I actually think it might be one of my favorite flying shooter type games played so far. The review says it best - they got the controls right, and with a little practice, this control system overcomes the itouch's main limitation - screen realestate.

    Some commented that they wish sound effects could be turned down... but why? Isn't it supposed to be a gaming experience including game specific sound effects? I don't want to turn down the sound effects of BIA, or HoS while playing.

  • Old Man J

    I commented on a previous entry regarding this game, but this title deserves another comment. It is GREAT!

    I actually think it might be one of my favorite flying shooter type games played so far. The review says it best - they got the controls right, and with a little practice, this control system overcomes the itouch\'s main limitation - screen realestate.

    Some commented that they wish sound effects could be turned down... but why? Isn\'t it supposed to be a gaming experience including game specific sound effects? I don\'t want to turn down the sound effects of BIA, or HoS while playing.

  • http://www.metroccolis.com your personal robot

    In seconds it became one of my favourite games so far!
    Love the style, the controls, the weapons.
    And for this price! I don't care anymore, of Rolando will
    be that big hit. They already got me again with with title.
    PERFECT!

  • http://www.metroccolis.com your personal robot

    In seconds it became one of my favourite games so far!
    Love the style, the controls, the weapons.
    And for this price! I don't care anymore, of Rolando will
    be that big hit. They already got me again with with title.
    PERFECT!

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    This is one of the very best deals in the App Store. A superb game.

    I am a major fan of Thrust. (As well as Geometry Wars.)

    See my Thrust blog post from May '07:

    http://www.bytecellar.com/archives/000106.php

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    This is one of the very best deals in the App Store. A superb game.

    I am a major fan of Thrust. (As well as Geometry Wars.)

    See my Thrust blog post from May '07:

    http://www.bytecellar.com/archives/000106.php

  • http://swiftfoxsoftware.com Jason

    Just bought it, definitely one of the best iPhone games available now. The controls are spot-on and the graphics are awesome.

  • http://swiftfoxsoftware.com Jason

    Just bought it, definitely one of the best iPhone games available now. The controls are spot-on and the graphics are awesome.

  • tosui

    So, is this the same type of controller/gameplay as 2079 (fly in any direction with one hand, shoot in any direction with the other)? I'm new to this type of game :)

    If I wasn't taken by 2079, will I like Dropship?

  • tosui

    So, is this the same type of controller/gameplay as 2079 (fly in any direction with one hand, shoot in any direction with the other)? I'm new to this type of game :)

    If I wasn't taken by 2079, will I like Dropship?

  • Wabaam

    i love this game! additive as hell xD

    btw, did everyone else notice the people you save are pulled from your contacts list? :D

  • Wabaam

    i love this game! additive as hell xD

    btw, did everyone else notice the people you save are pulled from your contacts list? :D

  • NotYou

    @Wabaam
    You're right! I thought it was funny at first that the first guy I saved had same weird last name as one of my friends

  • NotYou

    @Wabaam
    You're right! I thought it was funny at first that the first guy I saved had same weird last name as one of my friends

  • Just a Thought

    To the people at Touch Arcade:
    Could you make a "best of" post every week? Just to keep the rest of us updated.
    Such as:

    Best Car Racing Game (so far)
    Asphalt 4 (link to review)

    And so on and so forth. This would make it easier to keep track of the games, rather than having to search through the articles over and over again.

  • Just a Thought

    To the people at Touch Arcade:
    Could you make a "best of" post every week? Just to keep the rest of us updated.
    Such as:

    Best Car Racing Game (so far)
    Asphalt 4 (link to review)

    And so on and so forth. This would make it easier to keep track of the games, rather than having to search through the articles over and over again.

  • Jeff

    Awesome game! Took me a bit to get accustomed to the controls...but ultimately it wasn't too hard. Good graphics and sound. Love that there are downloadable levels (a Christmas tree level...how cool is that).

    For the price...a great deal.

  • Jeff

    Awesome game! Took me a bit to get accustomed to the controls...but ultimately it wasn't too hard. Good graphics and sound. Love that there are downloadable levels (a Christmas tree level...how cool is that).

    For the price...a great deal.

  • Andy Forman

    This game is GREAT. I haven't done ANY work today...thank you Dropship.

  • Andy Forman

    This game is GREAT. I haven't done ANY work today...thank you Dropship.

  • richmlow

    Dropship is a great game....a textbook example of how an iphone game should be designed! Highly recommended and worth the $1.99 price.

  • richmlow

    Dropship is a great game....a textbook example of how an iphone game should be designed! Highly recommended and worth the $1.99 price.

  • Naimeen

    i got this new game for the iphone and i was carrying this crate and i went too fast around a corner and the crate fell and i was like oh noes and then i died but good game needs moar lasers

  • Naimeen

    i got this new game for the iphone and i was carrying this crate and i went too fast around a corner and the crate fell and i was like oh noes and then i died but good game needs moar lasers

  • NotYou

    @Naimeen
    lol, lay off the cocaine, man!

    I hope they add a lot of downloadable levels to this. This is amazing for $2.

  • Justin Campbell
  • NotYou

    @Naimeen
    lol, lay off the cocaine, man!

    I hope they add a lot of downloadable levels to this. This is amazing for $2.

  • Justin Campbell
  • Vende

    an amazing game. Best thing I've downloaded since Snail Mail

  • Vende

    an amazing game. Best thing I've downloaded since Snail Mail

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    After a few more hours of playing I will say that this is one of the best arcade-style games I've ever played--on any platform. I haven't had so much fun of this sort since I got Thrust on my Vectrex.

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    After a few more hours of playing I will say that this is one of the best arcade-style games I've ever played--on any platform. I haven't had so much fun of this sort since I got Thrust on my Vectrex.

  • http://heiseheise.com Zach

    Excellent, about to start playing it now...who cares that it's 4AM!! :) You know what this reminds me of? Another game I want to see ported - Darwinia. This retro cel shade makes me long for that game, and I think it would play on the isystems!

  • http://heiseheise.com Zach

    Excellent, about to start playing it now...who cares that it's 4AM!! :) You know what this reminds me of? Another game I want to see ported - Darwinia. This retro cel shade makes me long for that game, and I think it would play on the isystems!

  • http://www.3deified.net Obiter

    This looks like it plays out a bit like good old Solar Jetman. Which is awesome. I think I'll give this a go.

  • http://www.3deified.net Obiter

    This looks like it plays out a bit like good old Solar Jetman. Which is awesome. I think I'll give this a go.

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  • http://www.visionaryart.biz nanokiwi

    Initial impressions - one of the best on the platform
    big ups to toucharcade for calling the best when it sees it
    snailmail "An iPhone Gem" as another example
    we are lucky to have touch arcade
    other coverage is crap

  • http://www.visionaryart.biz nanokiwi

    Initial impressions - one of the best on the platform
    big ups to toucharcade for calling the best when it sees it
    snailmail "An iPhone Gem" as another example
    we are lucky to have touch arcade
    other coverage is crap

  • Dave

    great game. controls are nice implemented, but still take some getting used to. Love the retro look. Make me think fondly of playing Gravitar. Also is reminiscent of major havoc

  • Dave

    great game. controls are nice implemented, but still take some getting used to. Love the retro look. Make me think fondly of playing Gravitar. Also is reminiscent of major havoc

  • Crim

    I have to agree, for $2 you can't go wrong. I really hope that more devs go this way with the graphics, I LOVE the look. I would be cool to see a true 3D game of this caliber and theme, but until one comes out I'll enjoy this one.

  • Crim

    I have to agree, for $2 you can't go wrong. I really hope that more devs go this way with the graphics, I LOVE the look. I would be cool to see a true 3D game of this caliber and theme, but until one comes out I'll enjoy this one.

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  • http://www.somagames.com John

    As I said in the digg of this review, I agree dropship is groundbreaking. We will be releasing a series of iphone games in the months ahead and the two thumb screen controls for Dropship are intriguing.
    I would have paid more for this game. Developers need to sell games for their worth, and not to reach the top of the app store charts. This game is easily worth at least 4.99 if not more.
    John of http://www.somagames.com

    Also Dugg: http://digg.com/apple/New_Dropship_iPhone_game_from_ngmoco

  • http://www.somagames.com John

    As I said in the digg of this review, I agree dropship is groundbreaking. We will be releasing a series of iphone games in the months ahead and the two thumb screen controls for Dropship are intriguing.
    I would have paid more for this game. Developers need to sell games for their worth, and not to reach the top of the app store charts. This game is easily worth at least 4.99 if not more.
    John of http://www.somagames.com

    Also Dugg: http://digg.com/apple/New_Dropship_iPhone_game_from_ngmoco

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