There are some games that try to impress by offering a well-rounded gameplay experience. Others meanwhile try to latch onto one or two key elements and hope that it’s enough to make up for other potential shortfalls. Violet Storm [$0.99 / HD] squarely falls into the second camp. While the dual-stick shooter impresses somewhat with its take on weapons and visual overstimulation, it may not be enough to overcome the otherwise generic gameplay and presentation.

As a dual-stick shooter, Violet Storm plays it safe with its gameplay offerings. Players have a choice of three different single-player modes: Sniper Mode, which is a timed run scored by accuracy, Speed Havoc, which challenges gamers to destroy a set amount of enemies as fast as possible, and Campaign.

Campaign is the most complete mode and pits you against a never-ending onslaught of enemies separated by timed waves. Survive a wave and you’re given a break (as well as a score bonus) before bigger and more difficult enemies come at you. There isn’t an artificial barrier around the playing field (like Geometry Wars, for example) so players are free to move in any direction for as long as possible. However, enemies will continually spawn near you and blindly running in one direction is a sure-fire way to get cornered and lose health.

As you battle enemy ships, you are rewarded with an occasional power-up (invincibility, damage boost, bombs) as well as weapon upgrades. The weapon upgrades are one area Violet Storm attempts to differentiate itself from other shooters. Weapons are relatively simple at the onset, but quickly build up to ridiculous multi-tracking lasers of various spreads and homing missiles (all being shot simultaneously no less). Last longer, and you even get to play with lighting. While Violet Storm obviously isn't the first game to pioneer ridiculous weapons, I was impressed with the showcase nonetheless.

Keep in mind all these weapons lead to a dazzling display of visual elements and intensity, which is another area Violet Storm looks to improve upon. It really is a sight to behold when you combine lasers and missiles, along with the large influx of simultaneous weapons and their projectiles on the screen at the same time. In fact, the visuals may be a little too intense, as later levels definitely border on 'bullet-hell' extremes (without the precision, unfortunately). Disappointingly, Violet Storm occasionally doesn’t handle all the graphics well, as I encountered some slow-down across all current generation devices during the more hectic scenes.

Notice I didn’t say the game differentiates itself via graphical style; Violet Storm looks very much like a Geometry Wars clone in most ways besides the sheer amount of graphical elements and the weapons. Granted, the game still looks great on most iOS devices, including the new iPad. Oddly enough, while Violet Storm is a universal app, gamers looking for iPad retina assets will need to pick up Violet Storms HD, which is an iPad only app.

Once you get past the weapons and visuals, Violet Storm falters somewhat. The music becomes repetitive rather quickly and ends up detracting. Also, while Sniper Mode and Speed Havoc are nice twists on the standard gameplay, there’s little in terms of actual variety, (save for three difficulty levels) to keep you coming back. The game experience just feels as if it was designed simply to showcase the crazy visuals.

I wouldn’t go so far as to call Violet Storm a one-trick pony, but in terms of bringing things to the genre it’s pretty close. The over-the-top weapons and graphical effects look great, but even those aren’t implemented perfectly. Regardless, outside of those features you’re still left with a competent arcade dual-stick shooter. However, considering the wealth of choices already on the app store, anyone other than fans of the genre may end up deciding to pass on this one.

TouchArcade Rating

  • Jay

    Looks kinda cool!  Meteor Blitz is still my favorite 🙂

  • JCat_NY

    It's gorgeous, has a great soundtrack (a bit drowned by the sound effects), and really fantastic vector effects, but the weapon upgrade system is rather strange. I like picking up random weapons ah la Infinity Field, as opposed to having an incremental weapon system that automatically upgrades your ship as the game progresses. 

Violet Storm Reviewed by Eric Ford on . Rating: 3