771267_largerWhen I tell you that ExZeus 2 [$6.99] gets almost every arcade-action gaming mechanic right, I’m probably understating the truth. This is one of the most fun action games that I have ever played on iOS. As a giant flying robot, you blast your way through legions of aliens just before landing on a building to kick some alien tail - Bruce Lee style. Gameplay switches up on a dime, with intuitive controls. One minute you’re riding a motorcycle in the city and the next, you’re taking the fight to space in a game of R-Type. The balanced leveling system keeps you empowered as the challenges continue to grow.

The game begins with some computerized narration over a few screens. It’s the year 2217 CE, over a century after the first ExZeus game, when the robot champions saved humanity from alien war machines. Now, aliens are attacking again and your robot, Minos, is once again humanity’s only hope. Throughout the game, you’ll be given one or two sentences of story to provide context for each mission setting. Yes, the story is cookie cutter and you’ve heard it in some fashion before in movies and gaming. But so what if the story is forgettable? The arcade action is totally magnetic.

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ExZeus 2 primarily works like Space Harrier. Using gyro controls, you steer Minos out of enemy fire, while joyously blasting away at aliens. Periodically, players will spot upgrades that replenish their health or shield. However, the best upgrades are always the firepower. Picking up your spread shot gives you the feel of raining multiple shots of hell down on these pesky invaders.

It is great that a game like this can maintain so many explosions and aliens on the screen, without any noticeable frame-rate issues. One of my favorite stages was Death Canyon, which was dubbed a “past civilization.” This planet was a mix of the Grand Canyon with Egyptian and South American inspired architecture. The detail and vibrancy in the landscapes and aliens are a touch above other games on the market. Minos is blasting turrets, aircraft and other flying aliens as points tally up on the HUD, without the stutter that you might find in less remarkable action games. Also the HUD reports a healthy lineup of information (such as health, shield, points, time remaining and level completion status) without ever feeling too cluttered.

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What really makes this game an instant win is the inspired diversity in each level. After getting my Space Harrier on, I landed on my first building and was attacked by alien hounds. I quickly gave them a few uppercuts and roundhouse kicks with Minos. A robot that also gets down with a little MMA, how cool is that? There is one caveat. You will have get used to the Virtual Pad the first few times the game switches over to it from the gyro controls, primarily for land battles. The left and right movements can feel a little awkward and restricted at times. I still enjoyed doing my robo-kicks, but the game lost some of the fast pacing of the flying sections.

Minos also operates a motorcycle, which is downright awesome for a robot. Once again, you’re using the Virtual Pad. However, the pace picks up during these moments as you drift into enemies to knock them down. It takes some quick reflexes to navigate with the bike, but you’ll enjoy it once you get the movement down. The Virtual Pad works best on those R-Type style levels, where you pilot your robot up through space.

I especially dug the big boss battles. It’s during these battles where you really feel how smooth the gyro controls are. You can quickly dodge alien-fire and then target those glowing weak points. After besting a boss, you collect additional coins that can be used to level up the usual cache of health bar, defensive shields and weapons power ups.

Overall ExZeus 2 is a superb action-arcade game, with smart level design. The diverse landscapes kept me glued to this alien adventure as I racked up points and leveled up Minos. I only wish there was some Game Center support instead of the canned leaderboard. Our community has been chatting about this game on our forums so be sure to check out what they're saying as well.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Adams Immersive

    It also has iCade support!

  • Boobi

    Its has NO IAP and "This is one of the most fun action games that I have ever played on iOS." So what is it missing from being a 5/5? You said the D pad controls may take a bit to get used to but no negatives, I am therefore surprised. I have not played the game just read your review but according to your review I am not seeing why you held back from giving it 5/5. Is this genre you don't like? I am left unclear on your reasoning, I do respect that its your view, just hoping you can help me understand, especially if these are the type of games you/we need more of.

    • echo_pdx

      Wha-huh?

      "I still enjoyed doing my robo-kicks, but the game lost some of the fast pacing of the flying sections." ...is pretty clearly a negative, isn't it? Your complaint makes little sense to me. It's nearly a perfect score for a game you admit you haven't played. The reviewer gushes over it but admits it suffers from some control issues, for which it loses all of half a star. What's the problem, here? Do you only buy games that get 5 stars from touch arcade, or something?

      • Boobi

        The question is solid you just missed it, he talked about pacing but did not comment either way if its a negative or positive since the game changes modes from biking, flying and MMA ground fights. I buy-games I like, take a chill the question was for there reviewer if you don't like it move on or take a afternoon nap.

    • Taeles

      No gamecenter would be why I wouldn't give it a 5, if this were my review.

  • themostunclean

    The gyro controls during the flying sections were awful. It's impossible to dodge and move speed is frustratingly slow even at max sensitivity.

    Switching to d-pad only makes the game immensely more playable and fun. Especially on iPad.

  • Maszej Raval

    Have any of you tried that wii shooter on rails? It looks similar to this. There was an n64 prequel.

    • zergslayer69

      Are you referring to star fox? Except I don't recall there being a wii version.

      • jbanes

        ExZeus came to the Wii under the name of "Counter Force". You may have seen it once or twice. It was packaged as a retail game.

      • famousringo

        He's talking about Sin & Punishment.

      • Maszej Raval

        Yea that game is boss. Just got it on sale used at gmespot for like 10 bucks. Is this as good?

  • worldcitizen1919

    A person's justified in asking why half a star was deducted because he wants to know if there's anything wrong BEFORE he buys the game. The reviewer should have made it clear whether it was a gameplay issue or no game centre support.

    Sometimes the half star can be a sticking point. I certainly too want to know what was the issue if the game's that good. I was about to buy it but if the half star is a control issue I might not get it as controls is my main beef with these types of games.

    I think the reviewer should be more technical in the presentation of points and se a model such as.... The reviewer needs to review his style of reviewing so we can get a clearer picture as opposed to a subjective picture of him liking the game. He needs to be specific as to why a star or half star is omitted as it affects sales and s equally unfair to devs if he's not clarified what's wrong.

    Pros

    Cons

    Or 41/2 star 1/2 star deducted for????

    • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

      Our ratings aren't based on any specific criteria, they are simply a way to measure the recommendation level of a game, i.e. how hard you would tell your buddy to get this game if they were looking for something new.

      Specific pros and cons are laid out in the review text itself. The points I picked up are:

      Cons -
      Story is forgettable
      Virtual controls are a little awkward
      Land battles not as fast paced as the flying
      No Game Center

      Pros -
      Well, lots of stuff, too much to list really. But if you're worried about the controls then "It’s during these battles where you really feel how smooth the gyro controls are" should tip you off that he liked the controls.

      Don't get so hung up on review scores, or for that matter, just one site's review. Read an assortment of reviews, check the forums, do a little research, and decide for yourself.

    • themostunclean

      Are you seriously saying that you need the article to tell you- THIS IS A CON AND SPECIFICALLY WHAT I AM DEDUCTING THE HALF A STAR FOR-? You couldn't figure that out just by reading it?

  • 7lilwhitewolf7

    BOAW!! Take that you big headed thing stuck in the ground throwing fire at me!

ExZeus 2 Reviewed by Bags Hooper on . Rating: 4.5