Seemingly coming out of nowhere, Vertigo Rogue [App Store] is a helicopter combat game with a huge 3D city and missions that are reminiscent of the Grand Theft Auto games. While not as highly detailed or in-depth as GTA, the lively city, impressive graphics, and brilliant controls makes for a highly entertaining game that stands out as being extremely impressive coming from an indie developer.

The story goes like this. As the protagonist, you are a mercenary helicopter pilot that has landed himself in jail. You've saved up enough money to give up this sordid life, and settle down quietly with your five year old daughter as soon as you're released. Unfortunately, your cellmate knows your background, and has a different plan for you. He has kidnapped your daughter and, in order to get her back safely, you'll have to be a pilot for his mafia family, your first mission being to help him break out of prison and get to safety.

The story is told via text cutscenes before missions, and pressing on the screen fast forwards them. It's a slightly cliché plot, but it can also largely be ignored if you choose. Vertigo Rogue has 37 different missions to complete, each one advancing the plot a bit more. The missions themselves are very GTA-like, although most boil down to finding and destroying certain people or vehicles (including tanks and fighter aircraft) from your eye-in-the-sky vantage. A handy waypoint system points you in the direction of helpful powerups like health, fuel and weapons, or towards the target(s) you must take out. While the missions get a little repetitious, it doesn't really matter as they merely serve as a means for flying around a city and blowing stuff up, which is a great time and truly satisfying.

As mentioned, the control scheme for maneuvering your helicopter is excellent. It's a dual analog setup and functions very similar to controlling a tank. Both sticks forward moves you forward, moving just one stick rotates you, and moving both either left or right at the same time allows you to strafe. Pulling the sticks apart from each other raises you into the air, while pushing them together lowers you towards the ground. A tap on the left stick switches weapons, a tap on the right fires. It's fairly simple and just makes sense. After a slight learning curve you will find you have incredible control over your copter.

All this would be pointless however if there wasn't somewhere interesting to fly to. Thankfully, this isn't a problem as Vertigo Rogue features a fairly lively and expansive 3D city to explore. Everything is rendered beautifully below as you fly high above, and at any time you can smoothly descend for a closer look. There's always a decent amount of cars and pedestrians going about their everyday business on the ground below, and trees sway from the downforce of your propeller as you get close to them. The detail isn't staggering, but the city definitely feels alive and looks gorgeous. What's most incredible is that everything is rendered so smoothly while the game runs at such a solid framerate. There's even a stereoscopic 3D mode, which causes the game to run much slower on older hardware, but works as advertised and is fun to check out if you have a pair of red/cyan glasses laying around.

I can't think of the last time I've had this much fun playing a game I've never heard of. What's even more impressive is that, according to the credits, the entire game was developed by just one person. If helicopter combat in a large open world sounds like something that interests you, give BrainPhant's Vertigo Rogue a look.

App Store Link: Vertigo Rogue, $4.99

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Acidbottle

    looks highly impressive this. been a good week for the appstore :D

  • Acidbottle

    looks highly impressive this. been a good week for the appstore :D

  • Adams Immersive

    I like the invisible “sticks." No clutter, just game.

  • Adams Immersive

    I like the invisible “sticks." No clutter, just game.

  • JCat

    That is really really hot nice! Amazing sound effects and smooth... will be adding this to my wish list.

  • JCat

    That is really really hot nice! Amazing sound effects and smooth... will be adding this to my wish list.

  • http://www.futuregaming.info David G

    Really nice looking game. I hope the port it to the Android, or maybe make a flash version for the web. It looks pretty fun and with 32 missions for 5 bucks a decent value. If they released it free with one mission they woudl probably sell a ton. Great review by the way, glad I found your site.

  • http://www.futuregaming.info David G

    Really nice looking game. I hope the port it to the Android, or maybe make a flash version for the web. It looks pretty fun and with 32 missions for 5 bucks a decent value. If they released it free with one mission they woudl probably sell a ton. Great review by the way, glad I found your site.

  • MrMuesli

    The controls remind me of Vector Tanks a bit, which is a good thing.

  • MrMuesli

    The controls remind me of Vector Tanks a bit, which is a good thing.

  • frank

    Wow, that really is bedroom coder stuff... amazing work for just one person!
    Shocking menu graphics but the game art looks pretty good and I'm very keen to test out the control mechanics, they look amazing.

  • frank

    Wow, that really is bedroom coder stuff... amazing work for just one person!
    Shocking menu graphics but the game art looks pretty good and I'm very keen to test out the control mechanics, they look amazing.

  • SalsaMD

    No love on iTunes though...

  • SalsaMD

    No love on iTunes though...

  • Jordan

    "Like GTA in the Sky!"

    lol

    You mean, like GTA 1 and 2? :-P

  • Jordan

    "Like GTA in the Sky!"

    lol

    You mean, like GTA 1 and 2? :-P

  • jen

    and its only 5.4 Mo

  • jen

    and its only 5.4 Mo

  • dumas1000

    Bad timing. NYZ, Warp Gate, Zombie Infection, Mirror's Edge, Splinter Cell Conviction, Pocket Legends (Counting DLC, of course), Deliverance, Revolt, Galaxy on Fire 2, Fast & Furious Adrenaline, IMO, Chaos Rings, Split/Second, Kick-Ass, etc.

    I'm not by any means cheap. But with the list of games I just mentioned, there's no way I'm paying 4.99 or more for this game, or Scarface, or Hockey Nations, or Vampire Orgins. For a few bucks a piece I would buy them all. Or, if they had been released a month ago, I might have bought them all.

    Racing to the bottom is the only chance that this dev has to compete, considering what he is currently up against. I don't advocate racing to the bottom in most situations, but I would drop this game to .99 if i were this dev and I would do it in a hurry. Get as high on the top 100 list as you currently can right now, because this list of upcoming games (a handful of them are out already, of course) is like a A-bomb that's about to be dropped right on top of your head.

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      Glad that we can count on you to bring on the cheer ;).

    • Alex.B

      I don't think your right i am sure if you don't buy it will appeal to somebody. Please don't race to the bottom with your pricing stick to your guns your worked hard you deserve it. It's hard to believe that people with Iphones and Itouches complain so much about the price of apps.

    • Boardumb

      This is one indie game that's worth far more than it's asking price. All dropping the price to 99¢ will do is devalue the amazing amount of quality and effort that went into this app.

      Lot's of indie games are overpriced. This isn't one of them.

  • dumas1000

    Bad timing. NYZ, Warp Gate, Zombie Infection, Mirror's Edge, Splinter Cell Conviction, Pocket Legends (Counting DLC, of course), Deliverance, Revolt, Galaxy on Fire 2, Fast & Furious Adrenaline, IMO, Chaos Rings, Split/Second, Kick-Ass, etc.

    I'm not by any means cheap. But with the list of games I just mentioned, there's no way I'm paying 4.99 or more for this game, or Scarface, or Hockey Nations, or Vampire Orgins. For a few bucks a piece I would buy them all. Or, if they had been released a month ago, I might have bought them all.

    Racing to the bottom is the only chance that this dev has to compete, considering what he is currently up against. I don't advocate racing to the bottom in most situations, but I would drop this game to .99 if i were this dev and I would do it in a hurry. Get as high on the top 100 list as you currently can right now, because this list of upcoming games (a handful of them are out already, of course) is like a A-bomb that's about to be dropped right on top of your head.

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      Glad that we can count on you to bring on the cheer ;).

    • Alex.B

      I don't think your right i am sure if you don't buy it will appeal to somebody. Please don't race to the bottom with your pricing stick to your guns your worked hard you deserve it. It's hard to believe that people with Iphones and Itouches complain so much about the price of apps.

    • Boardumb

      This is one indie game that's worth far more than it's asking price. All dropping the price to 99¢ will do is devalue the amazing amount of quality and effort that went into this app.

      Lot's of indie games are overpriced. This isn't one of them.

  • Anonymous

    This is such a shameless GTA CW ripoff it's not even funny.

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      That's like saying that Donnie Brasco is a ripoff of Good Fellas. VR may
      look like GTA:CW, but it plays pretty differently. The story is also very different.

      • Anonymous

        I think it's pretty obvious that this was made to cash in on GTA's success.

      • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

        Not the same thing as being a rip off.

    • http://www.icarus-x.com TheQuadsphere

      Maybe consider this is a 5MB game ans GTA is a 230MB game ?
      There is no point comparing.

  • Anonymous

    This is such a shameless GTA CW ripoff it's not even funny.

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      That's like saying that Donnie Brasco is a ripoff of Good Fellas. VR may
      look like GTA:CW, but it plays pretty differently. The story is also very different.

      • Anonymous

        I think it's pretty obvious that this was made to cash in on GTA's success.

      • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

        Not the same thing as being a rip off.

    • http://www.icarus-x.com TheQuadsphere

      Maybe consider this is a 5MB game ans GTA is a 230MB game ?
      There is no point comparing.

  • Chris

    In the vid I think I saw a lite version, any idea when that will be released?

  • Chris

    In the vid I think I saw a lite version, any idea when that will be released?

  • SalsaMD

    Good eyes! On the right of the home screen dock. Dunno when..

  • SalsaMD

    Good eyes! On the right of the home screen dock. Dunno when..

  • darwiniandude

    This looks excellent. I'll buy it later. Can't yet as Apple hasn't opened international pre-orders for the iPad yet, must keep all funds available till I know exactly how much iPad is :)

    • SalsaMD

      this is an iphone game, is it not??

  • darwiniandude

    This looks excellent. I'll buy it later. Can't yet as Apple hasn't opened international pre-orders for the iPad yet, must keep all funds available till I know exactly how much iPad is :)

    • SalsaMD

      this is an iphone game, is it not??

  • http://www.betomachado.com Beto

    Man, those controls look AWESOME.

  • http://www.betomachado.com Beto

    Man, those controls look AWESOME.

  • spiffyone

    Holy f'n zombie Jesus!

    Wow...the game looks great, the controls look like they're really tailor made for the platform (at first I was thinking why no accelerometer controls, which I think still should be an option, mind you, but these controls are killer on their own), and there's a friggin' stereoscopic mode to boot.

    And guess what, suckaz? Ol' spiffy has red/cyan glasses lying around, cause that's how ol' spiffy gets down when on his drinky drink :D

  • spiffyone

    Holy f'n zombie Jesus!

    Wow...the game looks great, the controls look like they're really tailor made for the platform (at first I was thinking why no accelerometer controls, which I think still should be an option, mind you, but these controls are killer on their own), and there's a friggin' stereoscopic mode to boot.

    And guess what, suckaz? Ol' spiffy has red/cyan glasses lying around, cause that's how ol' spiffy gets down when on his drinky drink :D

  • Pachi

    Reminds me of Thunderblade on the arcades....

  • Pachi

    Reminds me of Thunderblade on the arcades....

  • Co2Lninja

    Looks cool but I'll only buy this if they lower this to $.99 maybe $1.99.

    • Alex.B

      Guess you won't be buying it then.

    • tsharpfilm

      What....

      $4.99 is a fair price for a game like this.

  • Co2Lninja

    Looks cool but I'll only buy this if they lower this to $.99 maybe $1.99.

    • Alex.B

      Guess you won't be buying it then.

    • tsharpfilm

      What....

      $4.99 is a fair price for a game like this.

  • Adrian

    Just bought it! The controls are awesome - takes about 2 minutes to get used to. Surprisingly intuitive.

    Only completed 2 missions but this game is polished to within an inch of it's life. Pressing the screen during the cut scenes fast forwards like an old video recorder - nice :)

    It is expensive (5.99AUS - thanks for ripping us Aussies off Apple!!!) - probably the most expensive game I have bought. I figured that if 1 guy can do all of this (design, graphics, music(!!)) then he deserves my money - simple as that.

    Hopefully we will see more games from this guy. I wish I was half as talented.

  • Adrian

    Just bought it! The controls are awesome - takes about 2 minutes to get used to. Surprisingly intuitive.

    Only completed 2 missions but this game is polished to within an inch of it's life. Pressing the screen during the cut scenes fast forwards like an old video recorder - nice :)

    It is expensive (5.99AUS - thanks for ripping us Aussies off Apple!!!) - probably the most expensive game I have bought. I figured that if 1 guy can do all of this (design, graphics, music(!!)) then he deserves my money - simple as that.

    Hopefully we will see more games from this guy. I wish I was half as talented.

  • dumas1000

    4.99 probably is a fair price. I wouldn't argue that at face value. In a vaccum, the price would be acceptable. But there are simply too many competing options at this precise moment that seem like more of a sound investment and/or more of a known commodity. Every game on my earlier list and I also forgot to mention Alive4Ever Returns. April is making it a tough market to sale games. Too much supply & not enough demand.

    • Mezreal

      What made you think we wanted to hear you complain about the price twice? If you think it's too much, don't buy it.

    • MrMuesli

      When I was a young boy, my Mother would take me to the corner shop on Wednesdays after school and give me 20p to buy some 'one penny sweets'. I would choose them so carefully, and enjoyed them so much more because of it. Curiously, if I could have just gorged myself on all that was on offer, I would have enjoyed what I had far less. This is actually your problem, not the devs. Buy fewer games if you can't afford all the ones you want. I bet you'll enjoy your select choices more than getting your greedy little mitts on every game out there?

  • dumas1000

    4.99 probably is a fair price. I wouldn't argue that at face value. In a vaccum, the price would be acceptable. But there are simply too many competing options at this precise moment that seem like more of a sound investment and/or more of a known commodity. Every game on my earlier list and I also forgot to mention Alive4Ever Returns. April is making it a tough market to sale games. Too much supply & not enough demand.

    • Mezreal

      What made you think we wanted to hear you complain about the price twice? If you think it's too much, don't buy it.

    • MrMuesli

      When I was a young boy, my Mother would take me to the corner shop on Wednesdays after school and give me 20p to buy some 'one penny sweets'. I would choose them so carefully, and enjoyed them so much more because of it. Curiously, if I could have just gorged myself on all that was on offer, I would have enjoyed what I had far less. This is actually your problem, not the devs. Buy fewer games if you can't afford all the ones you want. I bet you'll enjoy your select choices more than getting your greedy little mitts on every game out there?

  • Matt

    I'd buy it for 3 instantly

  • Matt

    I'd buy it for 3 instantly

  • Miffy

    Two problems stopping me from buying.

    The Helicopter you control looks like a passenger one rather than a combat helicopter like the Apache.

    A Helicopter can't take out a jet like that and Jets can't go that slow or they'll stall.

    • Reilly

      then get a simulator game ;P

  • Miffy

    Two problems stopping me from buying.

    The Helicopter you control looks like a passenger one rather than a combat helicopter like the Apache.

    A Helicopter can't take out a jet like that and Jets can't go that slow or they'll stall.

    • Reilly

      then get a simulator game ;P

  • Rosh

    Damn... controls are harder than I thought :/

  • Rosh

    Damn... controls are harder than I thought :/

  • MD

    Really hard to control...should have thought about this before development started...You can't have a duel stick control and expect the player to tape the screen to fire.

    It just doesn't work.

    I'm sure that this will be the number one issue people bring up...and of course...we'll probably get alt control schemes eventually.

    • MrMuesli

      It worked for Vector Tanks I thought very well. Did you play that?

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      Well, it works for me. In fact, these are some of the best and most intuitive controls I've encountered on any iPhone 3D action game.

  • MD

    Really hard to control...should have thought about this before development started...You can't have a duel stick control and expect the player to tape the screen to fire.

    It just doesn't work.

    I'm sure that this will be the number one issue people bring up...and of course...we'll probably get alt control schemes eventually.

    • MrMuesli

      It worked for Vector Tanks I thought very well. Did you play that?

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      Well, it works for me. In fact, these are some of the best and most intuitive controls I've encountered on any iPhone 3D action game.

  • Brandon

    I'm enjoying it...
    I do think it's not worth $5 but since this was a 1 guy job I had to oblige :)
    I love the controls.

  • Brandon

    I'm enjoying it...
    I do think it's not worth $5 but since this was a 1 guy job I had to oblige :)
    I love the controls.

  • baytacrab

    It's probably as close as I can get to Raid on Bungeling Bay (the old C64 game)...

    Might just pick this up.

  • baytacrab

    It's probably as close as I can get to Raid on Bungeling Bay (the old C64 game)...

    Might just pick this up.

  • Co2Lninja

    @MrMuesli: for your info I look up all the games I buy and try to find as much info on that game as I can before I buy it. And FYI I'm only 13 and don't get paid. I only get money when it's special holidays. So I want to get good games for a good price. This looks like a good game but I'll wait to buy this when I get more money or if they have any kind of sale.

  • Co2Lninja

    @MrMuesli: for your info I look up all the games I buy and try to find as much info on that game as I can before I buy it. And FYI I'm only 13 and don't get paid. I only get money when it's special holidays. So I want to get good games for a good price. This looks like a good game but I'll wait to buy this when I get more money or if they have any kind of sale.

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

    Ok, BOUGHT it & actually PLAYED with it, as most of you seem to be trying to make up your minds solely on the demo video - overpriced, slightly repetitive, quite a bit of fun BUT the controls - especially the fire button - need urgent rearranging. For flying alone, they are excellent - when trying to aim, though, and especially when under fire, the whole experience proves frustrating, even on Easy mode. 4.99 for more frustration in my life ? Hmmm... Nope

  • Mak Akas

    Ok, BOUGHT it & actually PLAYED with it, as most of you seem to be trying to make up your minds solely on the demo video - overpriced, slightly repetitive, quite a bit of fun BUT the controls - especially the fire button - need urgent rearranging. For flying alone, they are excellent - when trying to aim, though, and especially when under fire, the whole experience proves frustrating, even on Easy mode. 4.99 for more frustration in my life ? Hmmm... Nope

  • Syzygy

    Thunderblades clone.

  • Syzygy

    Thunderblades clone.