My first real computer was an Apple //c purchased back in April 1984.  (Well, it was really my second, but that's a long story.)  I had so much fun with it during that first week that it's hard to describe.  One of the first games I got for it was Dan Gorlin's Choplifter, published by Brøderbund.  It was released in 1982 and ported to a number of other platforms, and in 1985 was released in the arcade by Sega.  I know of no other Apple II title that made it to the arcade.  That should tell you something about the retro classic that is Choplifter.

Anyone who got all dreamy-eyed reading the above paragraph should get ready for some retro iPhone gaming goodness.  Paul Pridham has just submitted an iPhone version of his Choplifter-inspired rescue action shooter Saucelifter, originally released for the PC in 2006.

A peaceful interstellar mission-gone-wrong has left your crewmates stranded, and in the hands of an aggressive Earth military! Now, your mastery of superior flying-saucer technology is their only hope for survival.

Will you rescue the helpless captives and beam them home to safety.. or will Earth's mechanized military madness result in your total destruction?

Gameplay involves flying your saucer to the Earth prison barracks, blasting open the doors, picking up your captive crewmates, and dropping them off at the transporter where they're beamed safely back to your alien world.  This is made challenging by evil Earth forces, including tanks, laser turrets, and flying attack drones.  As can be seen in the demo video, the action can get pretty intense.

Features as listed by the developer:

  • Addictive, pick-up-and-play action (no annoying dialogs or interruptions)
  • Silky-smooth, crisp vector graphics
  • Dynamic stereo sound effects, and lots of 'em
  • Accelerometer-controlled flying saucer! (what else do you really need?)
  • Easy auto-calibration of tilt controls
  • Superior alien 3-way touch-firing technology
  • Easy-to-follow Tutorial Mode
  • Multiple difficulty levels
  • High scores
  • Listen to your music while you play

While Choplifter featured basic raster graphics, Saucelifter is vector based and done in a style reminiscent of the graphics from Out of this World / Another World.  It has spot-on, accelerometer-based motion control with a tap to the screen to fire.  I've got my hands on an early release of the final version and it really does feel like Choplifter.  It's been great fun to play--a most enjoyable walk down memory lane.

With many retro titles I warn readers that the retro gameplay is...well...retro, and may appeal only to gamers with fond, long-ago memories of the original.  That's not the case with Saucelifter.  It, like the original Choplifter, stands up just fine as an action shooter, today.  This is one retro title I can highly recommend to all iPhone gamers.

Saucelifter has been submitted to the App Store and should appear for download sometime in the next few days.  It will debut at $1.99.

See our gameplay video for a feel of the action.


[ Full HD version | Low Bandwidth version ]

Game Details
Name: Saucelifter (v1.0) Price: $1.99 [Coming Soon]
Developer: Madgarden Size: ?
Device: Tested on iPhone 3G
Saucelifter is a well done Choplifter clone featuring clean 2D graphics and faithful, engaging gameplay. Any fan of the Apple II original will enjoy this one immensely, and so will most other gamers out there.

TouchArcade Rating

  • Finch

    wow, incredibly smooth animation and great retro graphics. Looks like those unlit flatshaded polys of old flight Sims like F/A-18 hornet for mac. Fond memories.

  • Finch

    wow, incredibly smooth animation and great retro graphics. Looks like those unlit flatshaded polys of old flight Sims like F/A-18 hornet for mac. Fond memories.

  • Finch

    wow, incredibly smooth animation and great retro graphics. Looks like those unlit flatshaded polys of old flight Sims like F/A-18 hornet for mac. Fond memories.

  • http://www.frapstr.com/ Mindfield

    Saucelifter?

    I believe the correct term is "ladle."

    Looks good, don't get me wrong, but ... saucelifter?

  • http://www.frapstr.com/ Mindfield

    Saucelifter?

    I believe the correct term is "ladle."

    Looks good, don't get me wrong, but ... saucelifter?

  • http://www.frapstr.com/ Mindfield

    Saucelifter?

    I believe the correct term is "ladle."

    Looks good, don't get me wrong, but ... saucelifter?

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

    I love it. You hear that, Paul? :-)

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

    I love it. You hear that, Paul? :-)

  • NotAddicted

    This is not a comment on the game I'm sure its a lot of fun.

    Something else...Again with this word "ADDICTIVE, pick-up-and-play action (no annoying dialogs or interruptions)". How addictive are iPhone apps really when the abandon rate is so high?

  • NotAddicted

    This is not a comment on the game I'm sure its a lot of fun.

    Something else...Again with this word "ADDICTIVE, pick-up-and-play action (no annoying dialogs or interruptions)". How addictive are iPhone apps really when the abandon rate is so high?

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

    I'm not following you. Did I say that, NotAddicted?

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

    I'm not following you. Did I say that, NotAddicted?

  • menom

    yeah this looks superb - will def' be getting it soon after launch

    never knew it from the early Mac days - my first Mac was a Classic and well after they were discontinued!

    this iPhone/touch platform just gets better and better ...

  • menom

    yeah this looks superb - will def' be getting it soon after launch

    never knew it from the early Mac days - my first Mac was a Classic and well after they were discontinued!

    this iPhone/touch platform just gets better and better ...

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

    @menom: Yes. Yes, it does. I've not touched my DS or PSP in months...

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

    @menom: Yes. Yes, it does. I've not touched my DS or PSP in months...

  • menom

    @Blake Patterson

    in fact I think the growth of game for the iPhone/Touch is a boost for the games industry as a whole which seemed to be railroaded into producing games that looked cinematic but weren't necessarily fun to play

    If a game console make produces a machine with 7 cores then it wants games publishers to utilise that capacity

    but gaming is often deceptively simple

    I'm hoping this iPhone/touch games bonanza might remind publishers that it's all about the fun to be had from games - not the number of polygons that are displayed

  • menom

    @Blake Patterson

    in fact I think the growth of game for the iPhone/Touch is a boost for the games industry as a whole which seemed to be railroaded into producing games that looked cinematic but weren't necessarily fun to play

    If a game console make produces a machine with 7 cores then it wants games publishers to utilise that capacity

    but gaming is often deceptively simple

    I'm hoping this iPhone/touch games bonanza might remind publishers that it's all about the fun to be had from games - not the number of polygons that are displayed

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

    @menom: I hear you! Look at Eliss. Not much CPU or GPU needed, there.

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

    @menom: I hear you! Look at Eliss. Not much CPU or GPU needed, there.

  • http://www.saucelifter.com Madgarden

    Blake: Thanks for the wonderful preview, I'm glad you like it. :)

    Mindfield: "Ladle" didn't sound quite as cool (though one of my friends calls it ladle anyway, heh). It's all about the fun, after all. ;)

  • http://www.saucelifter.com Madgarden

    Blake: Thanks for the wonderful preview, I'm glad you like it. :)

    Mindfield: "Ladle" didn't sound quite as cool (though one of my friends calls it ladle anyway, heh). It's all about the fun, after all. ;)

  • http://www.frapstr.com/ Mindfield

    @Madgarden - Oh, I've nothing against ladles. Some of my best utensils are ladles. I just wasn't expecting a game to be named after them, really -- but now I have an inexplicable urge to write a game called "Spatula."

    Seriously though, very sweet looking game. Coincidentally my first exposure to Choplifter was on the Apple //e way back when.

  • http://www.frapstr.com/ Mindfield

    @Madgarden - Oh, I've nothing against ladles. Some of my best utensils are ladles. I just wasn't expecting a game to be named after them, really -- but now I have an inexplicable urge to write a game called "Spatula."

    Seriously though, very sweet looking game. Coincidentally my first exposure to Choplifter was on the Apple //e way back when.

  • http://www.saucelifter.com Madgarden

    Make it "Count Spatula" and compete with iDracula in the App store. ;)

  • http://www.saucelifter.com Madgarden

    Make it "Count Spatula" and compete with iDracula in the App store. ;)

  • http://www.smiles-game.com PoV

    Excellent. The takeover of the iPhone App Store is proceeding as planned. ;)

  • http://www.smiles-game.com PoV

    Excellent. The takeover of the iPhone App Store is proceeding as planned. ;)

  • http://www.bitrabbit.net BitRabbit

    "It was released in 1982 and ported to a number of other platforms, and in 1985 was released in the arcade by Sega. I know of no other Apple II title that made it to the arcade."

    What about Lode Runner, also from Brøderbund, also first appeared on the Apple II ? :) An awesome game as well, who proposed UGC long before the acronym exists.

  • http://www.bitrabbit.net BitRabbit

    "It was released in 1982 and ported to a number of other platforms, and in 1985 was released in the arcade by Sega. I know of no other Apple II title that made it to the arcade."

    What about Lode Runner, also from Brøderbund, also first appeared on the Apple II ? :) An awesome game as well, who proposed UGC long before the acronym exists.

  • JKT

    Wow....my misspent youth is flooding back to me. I played Choplifter for many hours on both C-64 and early (monochrome) Macs. This is gonna be a must-buy for my iPhone. :-)

  • JKT

    Wow....my misspent youth is flooding back to me. I played Choplifter for many hours on both C-64 and early (monochrome) Macs. This is gonna be a must-buy for my iPhone. :-)

  • TKO

    I claim to be the king of retro trivia in being able to name Choplifter, Lode Runner, and Boulderdash as being games that all made it to the arcade. :) (surely someone will be able to out-do me here. hehe.)

    I started on Lode Runner on my friends Apple II, soon after had it on my c64 and was totally over the moon too see it make the leap to the arcade. (Then to be disappointed by how tricky it was.) :| ..I want this game. :D

  • TKO

    I claim to be the king of retro trivia in being able to name Choplifter, Lode Runner, and Boulderdash as being games that all made it to the arcade. :) (surely someone will be able to out-do me here. hehe.)

    I started on Lode Runner on my friends Apple II, soon after had it on my c64 and was totally over the moon too see it make the leap to the arcade. (Then to be disappointed by how tricky it was.) :| ..I want this game. :D

  • Rob

    Yes, yes, this is all fine and great, but what good is reviewing a program and hyping people up about it when weeks later, you still can't buy/download it?

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

      The app has been submitted, but indeed it's been sitting in Apple's queue far longer than expected.

    • http://www.saucelifter.com Madgarden

      Sorry about that Rob. The game has actually been approved for sale, but as Blake mentions, the contract stuff is still pending in Apple's queue. Hopefully it will get pushed out shortly.

      • Rob

        Excellent. Thanks for the update guys. I'm looking forward to it.

  • Rob

    Yes, yes, this is all fine and great, but what good is reviewing a program and hyping people up about it when weeks later, you still can't buy/download it?

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

      The app has been submitted, but indeed it's been sitting in Apple's queue far longer than expected.

    • http://www.saucelifter.com Madgarden

      Sorry about that Rob. The game has actually been approved for sale, but as Blake mentions, the contract stuff is still pending in Apple's queue. Hopefully it will get pushed out shortly.

      • Rob

        Excellent. Thanks for the update guys. I'm looking forward to it.

  • http://www.earth2willi.com willi

    Where is it?

  • http://www.earth2willi.com willi

    Where is it?

  • http://www.saucelifter.com Madgarden

    If everyone emails Apple asking for Saucelifter, maybe they'll hurry it up a bit! ;)

  • http://www.saucelifter.com Madgarden

    If everyone emails Apple asking for Saucelifter, maybe they'll hurry it up a bit! ;)

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  • KevinT

    And one day later, it's out! Congrats Paul!

  • KevinT

    And one day later, it's out! Congrats Paul!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cristiano-Fernandez/100001794208078 Cristiano Fernandez

    This game reminds me of them 80's movies.  Do try the Chupacabra game its free!

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