The tale of the official iOS Contra game is a weird one. First, we discovered that a remake of the original game with new visuals, new playable characters, and the "bonus" addition of in-app purchases surfaced on the Chinese App Store back in January, called Contra: Evolution. It looked pretty cool, and a few months later it seemed like the game would see a release outside of China. Sure enough, at the end of May, Contra: Evolution did end up hitting the US App Store.
And then it was promptly pulled.
Gah, can a Contra fan catch a break? Well, apparently that May release was unintentional, as Konami and Punchbox Studios, who were handling the iOS version, still had some tweaks, optimizations, and localization to complete before blessing us with the true international release. That day has finally come though, and Contra: Evolution [$0.99 / $2.99 (HD)] is now properly released in the US App Store as of right now.
When it was accidentally released a month ago, I thought Contra: Evolution was just "ok" as, unsurprisingly, it was pretty difficult to control with a touchscreen. Also, the IAP was kind of ridiculous, offering continues, extra lives, and certain weapons that could only be obtained by purchasing the premium currency with real money. Well, after pulling the game to tweak some of these things, the official version actually is an improvement over the accidental release. It controls much better now, and some of the in-app purchase stuff is now available using the in-game currency you can earn just through playing. Good job Punchbox.
Of course, this is still a notoriously difficult game, so I wouldn't say that Contra: Evolution is all rainbows and puppy dogs. But if you're a fan of the series and want a solid run 'n gun shooter for your iOS device, you'll likely enjoy what's on offer here. More impressions can be found in the forum thread and if you're up to the challenge, both intrinsically and due to touch controls, then grab Contra: Evolution with the links below as we continue to dig further into the release. Oh, and if you happened to download this when it accidentally released in May, then the revised version should show up for you as a free update.