Way back in March of this year, we took a brief look at Spirit [$1.99] from developer Marco Mazzoli. Spirit is an arcade-style high score game where wave after wave of enemies will appear whom you must defeat by circling your ship around them and creating a vortex that sucks them into oblivion. The touch controls are absolutely spot-on, and small touches like link bonuses for vaporizing enemies in quick succession add a lot of strategy to the gameplay. With its minimalist neon graphics, simple gameplay concept, and allure of competing for high scores online, Spirit really holds its own against even some of the timeless classics of a bygone arcade era.
Several months after the iPhone version appeared, the iPad native Spirit HD [$1.99] was released to the App Store. This version retained all of the great qualities of its more diminutive iPhone cousin but felt a lot different thanks to the extra screen real estate. Late last month, an update was released for Spirit HD that added a brand new game mode called Pulse, as well as some brand new music and a myriad of other small tweaks and bug fixes. iPad owners have been enjoying this new content for a few weeks now, but just before this past weekend a similar update dropped for the iPhone version of Spirit that adds all the new features from the iPad version and then some.
Pulse mode is an excellent new addition to Spirit, and nearly feels like a brand new game on its own. Instead of waves of enemies broken up into levels, Pulse mode is one giant onslaught of progressively more difficult bad guys. Rather than circling enemies, you'll make contact with one of the various pulsing purple orbs that are floating around to create a vortex that disposes of them. In a nice strategic twist, the size of the vortex depends on how large the pulsating orb is when you touch it. Also, defeated enemies drop tiny coins that add to a score multiplier when collected.
Pulse mode is a frantic mixture of avoiding enemies, building your multiplier, and trying to time creating vortexes to maximize your score, and it's a ton of fun. This developer video demonstrates the new Pulse mode:
Besides the new Pulse mode, Game Center has been added to the iPhone version of Spirit to work alongside the already-implemented OpenFeint. Spirit HD will also be getting the Game Center treatment, and indeed the update has already been submitted and should hit any time. Now we just need Apple to officially release iOS 4.2 for iPad, but hopefully that will be happening soon. Some nice discussions are taking place in our forums for both the iPhone version and the iPad version of Spirit, and Marco Mazzoli is quite active in both threads addressing user feedback. If you have yet to check out Spirit for either device yet, it comes even more highly recommended with these latest updates, and if you're a previous owner of the game make sure to grab the latest version and give Pulse mode a spin.