minMiniSquadron [AppStore] brings to the platform a re-imagination of classic PC games such as Subspace Continuum and Soldat, but does so more in the fashion of the more recently released Altitude. Essentially, MiniSquadron is a 2D side-scrolling, physics-based aerial dog-fighting game. If you think that was a mouthful, MiniSquadron boasts 8 different levels, each with 12 increasingly challenging rounds and a whopping 56 different planes to unlock over the course of the game.

The game begins with you manning a simple, somewhat slow fixed wing aircraft, capable of firing only a single machine gun. Round to round you are presented with additional and varied enemy types to take down, each with their own attacking style, agility and armor. Through use of a virtual analog stick you control only the pitch of your plan, able to send it into loop-the-loops and other complex maneuvers as you wrestle for the most advantageous position in which to fire. You unleash your bullets by tapping on the right-hand side of the screen.

These straight-forward controls complement the frantic nature of the game; a fact that ramps up in no time as you find yourself facing an overwhelming number of enemy combatants, particularly in the latter rounds of each level. In order to master MiniSquadron, you have to become intimately familiar with your plane’s speed, turning circle and weapon of choice, as you’ll find yourself dodging a hail of fire from tens of other planes almost simultaneously while trying to whittle them down one-by-one. The combat really is MiniSquadron’s high water mark; an all-out romp that action fans should warm to  immediately.

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MiniSquadron rewards your progress and feats with plane unlocks; each plane different to the next, with its own speed, armor and turning attributes. Additionally, planes that you unlock will possess one of several weapons, which start off as just additional guns, but later take the form of the cluster bomb for example, requiring a completely new approach to your aerial acrobatics to get the most out of. A range of in-game power-ups also bolster your arsenal, with quick burst omnipotent weaponry such as the Big Laser providing some of the more memorable experiences, in a throwback to the over-the-top Street Fighter super attacks.

The game is presented in its own charming, cartoony fashion, with smoke trails, weapons and plane damage effects looking particularly terrific. The variety (and eccentricity) of planes to unlock is impressive; with panda-faced planes to UFOs being awarded for completing certain requirements each level.

The 8 worlds to tackle are each accompanied by well-recognised classical compositions. Unfortunately, the current version does not support use of your own music; so if you do have something against classical music you’re out of luck until the developer pushes through an update- something that is being looked into according to posts on our discussion forum.

MiniSquadron also offers local WiFi play, which whilst a nice addition, seems a little out of place for a game that shines far more when heavily populated by combatants. If you can manage to get a few friends together though, there’s no doubt that there is a heap of competitive fun to be had here. MiniSquadron does seem far more suited to online play however, and its absence is notable seeing as how that was the hallmark of games on which it is based.

All in all however, MiniSquadron can be thoroughly recommended both to those who wish to take a trip down memory lane and to those who are new to the 2D dog-fighting genre. It is a well-rounded package that can be breezed through in a couple of hours, but offers you replayability as you unlock and learn to master the many different planes composing your sizable squadron. The game is also seeing overwhelmingly positive impressions in from our discussion forums.

AppStore Link: MiniSquadron, $2.99

TouchArcade Rating

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  • http://www.iphonelife.com/ Menneisyys

    Multiplayer demo video (also showing the speed differences between the iPhone 3G and the 3G S; fortunately, there aren’t any, speed-wise) uploaded to youtube.com/watch?v=wbmCl8HAcCs

    (Again, sorry for forcing you to copy/paste the address above – posting even YouTube direct [that is, clickable] links results in being put in a very long and slow moderation queue.)

    (The usual stuff applies: only one person operates the two phones at the same time etc. That is, do NOT complain about your not seeing the full multiplayer potential. Instead, be happy with the very high technical quality of the video showing even the smallest animations and pixels in the oceans of typical low-quality, crappy YouTube videos recorded with low-quality gear. Please read my previous posts - particularly in the Multiplayer bible, (where the main chart, BTW, has also been updated with info on this game too) at http://forums.toucharcade.com/showthread.php?t=21760 for more of my other remarks on my multiplayer demo videos.)

  • K

    Fantastic game, although I'm sure it was based on the Commodore Amiga classic, Biplanes which didn't have online multiplayer :)

    • http://www.iphonelife.com/ Menneisyys

      Neither does this title have online multiplayer- local Wi-Fi only...

      • MrMuesli

        That's a pity. Are there plans to add it?

  • Woo
    • http://www.strangeflavour.com Zwilnik

      glad someone remembers Jetstrike :) As the author I fully approve (although may have to do Jetstrike/Skystrike on the iPhone one day)

  • Corbier

    Looks like time pilot from konami to me ...
    Stolen ideas are cheap for every one.

    • http://www.iphonelife.com/ Menneisyys

      Yup, but - at least when it comes to similar multiplayer games - it's still far better than the (only one) 2D alternative ( Air Force Online by CDE).

    • http://www.minisquadron.com Tak Fung

      It's certainly inspired by games like Time Pilot - but it is significantly worked on with loads more features! Stolen ideas are indeed cheap for everyone - none more so than Eliminate - right? It actually *is* free...

  • http://www.iphonelife.com/ Menneisyys

    "MrMuesli says:
    November 19, 2009 at 7:22 am

    That's a pity. Are there plans to add it?"

    Dunno - I'll try to ask the developer.

  • ragadoo

    Awesomeness! I’ve just downloaded and this it the BEST GAME EVER! Honestly, I haven’t had this much fun since I was a kid, sneaking downstairs to play the latest game on my commodore 64. It’s got the magic!! BUY IT! BUYITBUYITBUYIT!!! It costs less than beer and it’s ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT. Get it now… go on!

  • http://www.runningwithscissorsgame.com Chris

    bought it, and it's super fun. the laser sound is a bit loud compared to the others :)

  • http://www.magicity.com Gerald

    This game reminds me of a game a pumped a million quarters into as a kid: Two Tigers made by Bally in 1984. Here is a link to the game if you want to check it out, it was way cool. http://www.klov.com/game_detail.php?letter=T&game_id=10242

    I hope they add the ship element to the game as it would be fun to sink battleships as the planes go down. This is a must buy game. It is a lot of fun and I have very much enjoyed paying it for the last two days.

  • chris

    just bought this game and it's really great!! I just don't like the little kid voice---wish I had the option to turn it off.

  • JeremyR

    To me, it actually looks more like the old Arcade game, Looping, which was mostly famous for being on the Colecovision.

  • http://ebattalion.com/ Morto

    It looks cute