610797Battle Blasters [App Store], the first release from developers Little Guy Games, is a one-on-one, top-down action shooter tuned for multiplayer. While plenty of good things can be said about the single player, the real potential for this game lies in the (local-only for now) multiplayer.

Combat in Battle Blasters is controlled using a variety of on-screen taps and swipes. The battlers can only move on a horizontal plane to dodge attacks; a simple touch on the bottom area of the screen will lead your fighter out of danger's way, and a swipe in the area above your character will cause him/her to attack. A fast swipe away from the selected fighter will send out a quick attack in the form of some sort of laser beam and a slow swipe will send out a slower, more powerful attack that has the power to stop enemy beams in mid-flight. Swiping down will cause your battler to reflect nearly any attack, a technique that will prove itself to be extremely useful for turning the tide on an overly aggresive opponent.

There are six different characters to choose from in Battle Blasters, and each one has a special ability (along with unique attributes in movement speed, attack power, and defensive categories) which can be activated in battle by simply tapping the character. Jerett, the initially unlocked character, has the ability to quickly fire destructive rockets, Maya can absorb enemy attacks to add to her total ammo capacity, and Animus can fire difficult-to-stop dual cannon shots, to name only a few.

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The special powers force players to adapt their play style in significant ways depending on who they're facing. This is all done in a way that manages to avoid unbalancing the game or making some characters inherently better  than others. Some characters, especially Maya and End,  require a little extra patience to fully grasp, but I feel that they too could be highly effective in the hands of an experienced player.

I've always heard fans of fighting games talk about how the greatest reason for their love of the genre is the level of total connection with a character that players get once the game has been mastered. Avid Street Fighter players speak about a certain point after memorizing every character's moveset where everything becomes all one giant mindgame with an opponent. When two players have total control and knowledge of how to pull off any move in a fighting game, the game evolves into something much more complex than a simple button-masher that it may appear to be to the uninitiated.

Personally, I'm not a big fan of fighting games, but as I played and eventually conquered Battle Blasters, I began to finally understand what those fighting game fanatics were raving on about. Just as with fighting games, Battle Blasters contains a hidden level of strategic depth that, once discovered, really changes the nature of the game. Instead of simply blasting away with what seems like a good combination of strong and weak attacks, players will begin to be able to foresee potential combo opportunities and draw out weaknesses in an enemy's defenses by throwing off their game with unexpected and creative techniques, effectively using mind games on their opponents.

Battle Blasters does feature same-device simultaneous multiplayer, but that doesn't work so well due to the physical constraints of playing on a single 3.5" screen. So, where the game would shine would be the inclusion of online multi-player -- a feature that is said to be planned for a future update.

In the meanwhile, it's still worth picking up now to enjoy the single player (because it's totally a blast), and hone those skills for the fateful day that online does arrive. Until then, I'll enjoy smack-talking our forum goers in the game's official thread without ever needing to back up my claims, and all competition will have to be limited to the included online leaderboards.

App Store Link: Battle Blasters, $2.99

TouchArcade Rating

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  • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

    Another great review, Ryan. Haven't quite "conquered" Battle Blasters, but I'm having fun trying. Once I get the timing right for the shield, I'm pretty sure that Maya will kick ass in her own way.

    • Ryan Rigney

      I'm too lazy for Maya lol. I'd rather just reflect those shots that she would shield-absorb. Jerett is my homeboy for now.

  • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

    Another great review, Ryan. Haven't quite "conquered" Battle Blasters, but I'm having fun trying. Once I get the timing right for the shield, I'm pretty sure that Maya will kick ass in her own way.

    • Ryan Rigney

      I'm too lazy for Maya lol. I'd rather just reflect those shots that she would shield-absorb. Jerett is my homeboy for now.

  • Anonymous

    I noticed 2 logos at the end. Telefilm and Ontario. That would mean this app is subsidized by taxpayers, right? I wonder what the grant was. Still, this app does look promising.

  • Anonymous

    I noticed 2 logos at the end. Telefilm and Ontario. That would mean this app is subsidized by taxpayers, right? I wonder what the grant was. Still, this app does look promising.

  • game_music_lover

    Cool game....Took a bit of time to get a grip on it though but now I've got it down well......SUPER FUN!!! Like any good tv show, It's all about learning the characters..........Some really good music too.....loved the songs for B.R.O.C and Gabrielle........I wonder who the composer is

  • game_music_lover

    Cool game....Took a bit of time to get a grip on it though but now I've got it down well......SUPER FUN!!! Like any good tv show, It's all about learning the characters..........Some really good music too.....loved the songs for B.R.O.C and Gabrielle........I wonder who the composer is

  • http://www.runningwithscissorsgame.com Chris

    They're probably utilizing the Ontario Digital Media tax credit, which allows up to 40% of wages to be covered as tax credits. It's a pretty sweet program :)

  • http://www.runningwithscissorsgame.com Chris

    They're probably utilizing the Ontario Digital Media tax credit, which allows up to 40% of wages to be covered as tax credits. It's a pretty sweet program :)

  • http://www.runningwithscissorsgame.com Chris

    also, if you take a look at canadian game development, there's huge incentives all across the country, in Ontario (the newest), BC (EA), and montreal (Ubisoft) to name a few.

  • http://www.runningwithscissorsgame.com Chris

    also, if you take a look at canadian game development, there's huge incentives all across the country, in Ontario (the newest), BC (EA), and montreal (Ubisoft) to name a few.

  • rich_952000

    Great game, nice review :)

    • Ryan Rigney

      Glad you liked it :)

  • rich_952000

    Great game, nice review :)

    • Ryan Rigney

      Glad you liked it :)

  • http://www.silentrocco.com Silent Rocco

    Thanks for this review. It's a wonderful find. I love this little game. Feels very unique and polished.

  • http://www.silentrocco.com Silent Rocco

    Thanks for this review. It's a wonderful find. I love this little game. Feels very unique and polished.

  • chris

    thank you im buying this game now.

    chris.

  • chris

    thank you im buying this game now.

    chris.

  • Gert

    Very encouraging review. Games that really explore the benefit of playing against other people instead of AI are the best, because it's so incredibly fun to play games where you are not only challenged, but as well are the challenger yourself.

  • Gert

    Very encouraging review. Games that really explore the benefit of playing against other people instead of AI are the best, because it's so incredibly fun to play games where you are not only challenged, but as well are the challenger yourself.

  • Pieke

    awesome background music!!!

  • Pieke

    awesome background music!!!

  • starmonkey101

    i think this review should be featured for a few days or so. there has been tons of talk about it today and it would help the majority of the "on the fence tA'ers" to make their decision.

  • starmonkey101

    i think this review should be featured for a few days or so. there has been tons of talk about it today and it would help the majority of the "on the fence tA'ers" to make their decision.

  • starmonkey101

    is the rating going to be up-ed cuz of bluetooth multiplayer, or will i only be up-ed with online multiplayer?

  • starmonkey101

    is the rating going to be up-ed cuz of bluetooth multiplayer, or will i only be up-ed with online multiplayer?