As you probably know,we're no strangers to Cobra Mobile's iBomber series. Once a series focused on simple tap-to-destroy bombing runs, the shift to tower defense with iBomber Defense [$2.99] and iBomber Defense Pacific [$2.99] brought welcomed depth and a larger following to the collection of games. Well, Chillingo and Cobra are mixing it up again with iBomber Attack [Free], a tank-based dual stick shooter. While Attack is a pretty competent tank game on its own, the lack of co-op along with a few other issues keep it from the heights of its tower defense brethren.
Like other iBomber games, Attack doesn't have much of an overarching story. Each mission is self-contained with a few sentences of backstory that set up the primary and bonus objectives. While most missions charge players with blowing up buildings or enemies (sometimes both!) Attack attempts to mix it up a little with time limits and multiple objectives. Still, the story and mission structure is rather basic and doesn't offer much that hasn't already been experienced.
Thankfully, Attack's actual tank gameplay is a little more exciting than its narrative backdrop. For starters, nearly every object - be it buildings, walls, or plants - is destructible. This adds a little bit of strategy as you can decide whether to carve paths through towns and defenses or use the buildings and walls as cover as you maneuver towards your goal. Other elements like strategically placed explosives also add to mix as a well placed shot typically creates nice chain reaction explosions that can be very helpful when you're overwhelmed (or pressed for time).
The second, more important component to iBomber Attack's overall gameplay is its experience and currency systems which give the game a lot more customizability and replayability. Completing missions earn stars, which can be used for upgrades between missions. There's actually a decent amount of tank upgrades, which range from damage and armor increases to health regeneration to even increased ramming strength. There's enough different attributes for some decent personalization of the tank to suit one's gameplay.
Meanwhile, iBomber Attack also has a support shop that sells secondary weapons for gold, which can be earned in-game or bought via IAP. The support shop features weapons like bombs, machine guns and flame throwers which, while not essential for completing missions, add some much-needed variety to the standard tank shots which are your bread-and-butter. While some of the support weapons are a bit too expensive for my taste (which would indicate an encouragement for IAP) missions are easily replayable for more gold.
There are a few items of note with iBomber Attack that I think could be improved. For example, while there are plenty of control options, I just couldn't get used to my tank's movement, which I think is more indicative of the game's attention to tank maneuverability more than anything else. Another complaint is the lack of enemy variety, with later levels simply upping the stats of your enemies rather than really introducing a substantial amount of new baddies. Finally, while not really a complaint, iBomber Attack is begging for a co-op mode. Being able to share in the wanton destruction of levels with a buddy would go a long way towards making the game more enjoyable.
As it is, iBomber Attack's biggest complaint may be that its too simple. The fact that the game looks so much like its tower defense predecessors (which isn't a bad thing, as I like iBomber's art style) may also lend to this belief, as those games had a lot more depth and strategy. Still, for what I imagine is an experiment in genre switching, Attack should be considered a successful attempt and is worth checking out if you're looking for a tank dual-stick shooter. Just don't expect too much more than a relatively basic set of features.
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