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In a few ways, Strike Wing: Raptor Rising [$0.99] encapsulates a lot that we love in space shooters. Good controls, great visuals and hectic action make for a pretty fun gaming experience. While these reasons alone make Strike Wing a game worth checking out, a relatively simplistic mission system combined with an unlock grind that doesn't provide much variety keep it from being a game worthy of more.

There're typically a lot of elements at play in making a successful space sim, but I'd argue that well-done controls should make up the foundation of any game in the genre. In this regard, Strike Wing does a superb job. I found it incredibly easy to to get into, with controls that make piloting your spaceship a breeze. While players can choose between virtual joystiq and accelerometer based schemes, there really was no substituted for the default accelerometer controls.

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Complementing Strike Wing's controls is a visual engine that boasts some pretty decent graphics for a space sim. Ship models are detailed, the liberal use of particle effects is pretty cool, and the frame rate is incredibly smooth and fast. The last point is particularly important since the high frame rate does a great job imparting that feeling of actually being in a fast-paced space dogfight. It sounds small, but it works well in Strike Wing especially since the actual missions lend themselves to arcade-style gameplay.

Rather than an over-encompassing story that has you traversing the galaxy (such as the Galaxy on Fire series) Strike Wing is made up of small self-contained episodic scenarios that put you in various roles. Some are relatively simple, such as a mission that simply charges you with taking on waves of enemies until you succumb, while others actually have achievable end-goals of taking down large ships or successfully escorting transports. Regardless of the mission type, the primary goal will be to take out opposition ships. Playing missions earn both experience and credits, which are used to unlock and purchase ships which then allow you to play more missions.

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I can appreciate the missions for what they are, but I really wish Strike Wing had more going for it. As I mentioned earlier, Strike Wing is focused entirely on combat, meaning folks looking for any facets of exploration or trading need to look elsewhere. In addition, outside of unlocking (and purchasing) new ships there isn't much in terms of an end-game except for trying to earn a higher score on the leaderboard. Sure, the Strike Wing boasts adaptable AI, but I found the changes in difficulty to not really impact the overall playthrough of missions. Even a simplified ship improvement system would have gone a long way towards improving replayability. As it is, while I did enjoy the variety in missions, I just wasn't too big of a fan of the grind for experience and credits to buy the ships necessary to unlock said missions.

While a good space sim at its core, Strike Wing is still a game of tempered expectations. The actual space sim gameplay is refined with controls that really work well and a visual system that looks impressive on high end iOS hardware. The simple mission-based gameplay is also enjoyable, but the content at least on the onset feels constrained. Still, I have no problem recommend Strike Wing in its current state, although I hope that the developers treat this as a stepping stone to a more fleshed out space fighter.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • The Gamer Dude

    Nice review Eric and spot on, as a huge fan of space combat games I'm really digging this. However your last sentence really says it all, let's hope they run with this.

  • Botteu

    Why won't they ever do one of these with in-cockpit view? I feel the third person view doesn't do the genre justice.

    • The Gamer Dude

      It has a first person view, but no cockpit view yet.

  • Hawaii Jeff

    Sounds like they should have just waited to release it when they had more meat available.

  • stormyspop1

    I didn't like the grinding to buy the other ships, especially when I paid for the game. Why not charge what you want for the game upfront rather than nickel and dime people.

    • Taclys

      God forbid you replay a level like, three times, to get a new ship. Excellent review, pretty spot on. It feels sorta like Galaxy On Fire 2, but only the combat system.

    • bigjack66

      Yeh but you only payed 99c or 69p so you can't really complain!

  • araczynski

    i was rather looking forward to this as well, only had a chance to play the first 'mission' (fight till you die), but was really quite put off by the myriad of IAP available. They made it sound like a labor of love with maybe one or two IAPs, whereas what I saw was a decent game, but more convoluted IAP options than I can bother to wade through. Typically the only IAP i look for is a currency doubler or something like that, which if it was there in the pile of stuff, i didn't find. sadly disappointed, but that might change as I get more into it. It definitely looks pretty nice.

  • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

    Heh, "virtual joystiq"

    Your review is spot-on. This is a brilliant technical demo. I wish it had a bit more of a story or mission builder frame to hang on. Grinding for in-app currency is no fun, but I'd pay extra for well-drawn comic book style story episodes tying the action together.

  • flashbackflip

    Very insightful review thank you!

    Being strongly 'explorer' in R.Bartle matrix i just saved 0.99

    Returning the good vibe, i'd like to recommend to all fellow space-sim-junkies out there - the game called Star Citizen, if you haven't heard already :D

    Yeah. It's not iOs and it is not done yet. But u won't regret googling it up!

    B safe

    • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

      Meh, Star Citizen, don't believe it until they deliver something playable and fun. Instead of making a nice little callback to Wing Commander, Chris Roberts is "disappointed and hurt" by the interest in mobile and console gaming. Forget him and his over-spec'ed, overhyped PC game.

      As for the R.Bartle matrix, that's a good observation, I swing that way too, and hopefully they'll add more stuff for us soon. This is certainly worth a few minutes, 50MB of space, and a dollar as is.

    • Taclys

      Since I don't feel like spending my entire college budget on a gaming computer, I'll stick to my console and mobile games. Star Citizen looks interesting though, but a little overhyped.

  • jcifrit

    Agreed with this review; the game has potential but it's missing something (or a few things...) I played the first couple of missions and grew bored with the excessive simplicity.

  • Zenfar
  • https://www.facebook.com/DigitalDistillery Scot Damn

    Couldn't agree more with this review. Well said.

  • $P4RT4N

    I never grew tired playing XwingVsTieFighter scenarios, this in a way has that vibe. I'd actually say it's more in line with Starlancer due to the slide physics in the flight model.

    Either way this is a great start, I hope they back it up with more content. I may end up dropping IAP for a ship pack, but I too feel like the IAP is a bit cray cray in this one. At least there is no repair timers or some nonsense.

    What would make this even better is coop and competitive team multiplayer over gamecenter with objectives to fight over, paired with airplay and controller support... Ok I can dream but iOS games will get there one day.

    • Vaipa

      Controller support is in there already and it has some pretty nifty features, once they get released by Apple's tight grip.
      As for the rest.. you've just parsed our to-do list in a way :P

  • the goat king

    I liked the game just fine until I updated it. Every time I select the new campaign mode the game completely shuts down.

    • Vaipa

      We are actively looking into the problem. Until we find a fix for it, try one of the following:
      1) Delete the game , re-download and start the campaign WITHOUT downloading data from the cloud.
      2) Restarting your phone to clear up memory and start the game
      3) Shut down all internet access, and try playing the campaign without it.

      This generally occurs on users with previous profiles on devices with low memory. We're sorry for the inconvenience and we'll try to fix it asap.

      In the meantime it would help a lot with a fix if you could send us any crash log files that you may have on your device from Strike Wing to the e-mail address that you can find on our support page (the ? sign in the main menu) .

Strike Wing: Raptor Rising Reviewed by Eric Ford on . Rating: 3.5