I ran in to Yoshiyuki Miyagawa, CEO of Geppetto, Inc at WWDC as he was walking around with his phone slung around his neck telling anyone who would listen about himself and his games. Miyagawa has an impressive resume which includes 14 years at Square-Enix where he had his fingers in Dawn of Mana and served as the Lead Programmer for the console version of Final Fantasy XI.
Geppetto's latest offering, iYamato [App Store], allows players to play as the flagship of the Japanese Combined Fleet during World War 2, the Yamato. When the Yamato and her sister ship, the Musashi were formally commissioned in late 1941, they were the largest and heaviest battleships ever constructed and were armed with massive 18.1 inch main guns.
iYamato provides an interesting approach not often seen in Western video games, since playing as the Japanese in a World War 2 game obviously pits you against the Americans and their Allied forces, presumably Task Force 58 during Operation Ten-Go. (Read more about the Yamato and its battles on Wikipedia.)
The gameplay is fairly simple, the Yamato is armed with its standard guns that have unlimited ammo, as well as larger and more powerful cannons which take a few seconds to reload after each shot. Using these weapons, you defend yourself against waves of fighter planes, bombers, blimps, and other aircraft.
The unique mechanic of iYamato is as your ship takes damage, it will start to sink either towards the bow or the stern depending on where you've been hit. As the ship sinks, the angle of your guns change and at times you will lose access to some of your guns as they sink underwater.
iYamato has a really cool feel to it, and as your ship starts sinking it does a great job of giving you the feeling of desperation as you attempt to defend yourself with half of your ship underwater. The graphics and sounds are top notch, and with headphones provide a eerily immersive experience.
That said, it would be really nice if the game had some kind of power-up or upgrade system to add some variety and overall depth to the game. Currently, you defend the Yamato with the same array of weaponry until you're sunk, your score gets transmitted to a worldwide leaderboard, and you start over.
However, the developer is actively posting on our forums, and seems to be taking in ideas for future updates. So, if you've got something to say or a suggestion to add, don't hestitate to stop by the iYamato thread and post it. With iYamato surging to the overall top ten of the Japanese App Store overnight, it wouldn't surprise me to see continued support from Geppetto.
If you're a history buff, like high score games, or just generally enjoy shooting down swarms of aircraft with a massive battleship, at 99ยข, iYamato is certainly worth a look.
App Store Link: iYamato, 99ยข