Implosion - Never Lose Hope [$9.99] is the latest game from Rayark, the developer behind the wonderful titles Cytus [$1.99] and Deemo [$1.99]. It's an outstanding game, and if you're reading this review because you want to know whether or not you should drop ten US dollars (or your local equivalent thereof) on it, let me cut to the chase for once. Yes, you should. Head over the the App Store, hit the button to purchase it, prepare a cup of your beverage of choice while it downloads, and get ready to settle in for a slick action game with superb production values and seriously well-designed combat. I can't recommend this game enthusiastically enough.

Implosion puts you in the role of Jake, a hotshot young mecha pilot who is one of a group of humans that fled Earth in the wake of a global disaster. An incident has brought Jake and his team back to their home planet, where they'll square off against a strange life form known as the XADA. The fate of the entire species is at stake, naturally. Luckily, you've got the War-Mech Series III battlesuit, a heavily armored piece of tech that's as agile as it is powerful. You'll fight your way through 34 stages of overhead action that take plenty of cues from the greats of the genre. It's not shy about its inspirations, either. You start off with a few different kinds of attacks including a basic slash with your sword, a ranged machine gun, and a special move that allows you to zoom forward with your blade extended. That last move is basically Dante's Stinger from Devil May Cry, and while this game doesn't quite go down the rabbit hole as far as that game, its combat system is still extremely refined.

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As much as it feels like DMC at times, it also seems to have picked up a few lessons from Ninja Gaiden and God Of War. Your suit can't jump, but it does do a pretty mean combat roll. Your attack combo naturally progresses into a spinning attack that hits just about everything around you. Your suit levels up as you rack up kills, allowing you to slap in new parts that improve its parameters. Those parts can be found around the levels, as rewards for besting certain challenges, or bought in the shop using the credits you earn in-game. Since your suit has a limited number of slots, you have to pick and choose what you equip based on the needs of each level and your own personal play style. Don't hurt your head too much thinking about it, though. Equipment can give you a major edge, but this is a skill game more than anything else. If you can't learn the basics of evasion and knowing when to attack, all the gear in the world isn't going to help you.

The game generously offers plenty of chances to retry should you fall in battle, but like most games of this type, Implosion grades you at the end of the level. Should you give in to temptation and use those retries, your score will take a hit. Even if you don't care about scores, there is strong incentive to meet at least some of the game's demands, as doing so will earn you badges that you can trade in for all kinds of interesting goodies. If you do care about scores, you'll be pretty happy with how well the system is handled here. There's plenty of room for mastery and each level has its own Game Center leaderboard, providing excellent motivation for revisiting in pursuit of a higher score.

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Controlling it all is a snap. There's a floating virtual stick for movement, with a handful of virtual buttons that control your other actions. Switching between melee and ranged attacks is as easy as sliding your finger on the attack button, and the roll is easily accessible just under it. Special attacks are mapped around the main attack button where you can get at them in a pinch. While it's not always easy to hit specials in the heat of the moment, your thumb falls pretty naturally on the buttons for attacking and dodging. It's about as good as can be expected from a virtual button layout. The game also supports MFi controllers, if you have one. I found the touch controls were more than suitable for making my way through the game, but some of the challenges that require you to clear a level without getting hit were a bit tricky without resorting to my controller.

Games like these greatly depend on having a good variety of enemies to throw at the player. Implosion does alright in this regard, though the zombie fodder enemies are perhaps a bit overused. Importantly, however, the boss enemies and even the larger regular enemies provide excellent challenges, especially when other baddies are tossed in with them. Many of the bigger enemies have renewable shields that you have to break down before you can do damage to them, so you really need to stay on top of them and not get distracted. The game also throws in environmental hazards pretty regularly that you'll need to avoid and use to your advantage.

The game's description promises console quality, and it delivers on that promise in its presentation just as well as it does in its gameplay. The graphics are very good, the action is smooth, and there's actually a fair bit of variety in the environments, all things considered. There's a fairly large amount of voice acting, and the music is excellent. It's rare to see an original game on iOS with this kind of oomph to its production values, particularly one that backs said values with equally strong gameplay. The story is at least interesting enough to glue the stages together, and all the important boxes are ticked off in terms of options. In addition to the aforementioned Game Center and MFi support, the game also has iCloud support so you can easily play between devices. Implosion is also totally IAP-free, so the game's many cool unlockables are just that: cool things to unlock.

I don't mind saying that I'm kind of head over heels for Implosion. I've played it through a few times already, and I suspect I'll be going through it more in the future. It's a well-designed action game with enjoyable progression, fun customization, and fairly deep mechanics. That all of that is wrapped up in a stunning package is just delicious frosting on the cake. I imagine this was a risky venture for Rayark, not just because of its level of polish but also because it's pretty far outside their usual fare. On top of that, it's an entry in a sub-genre with some seriously high watermarks overall but few successes in the mobile space. I hope it pays off for them, because I can only think of two words to finish this off with: more, please.

TouchArcade Rating

  • Maglor

      \\ Λ_Λ
       \(´∀`) OMG!! THAT GODBLESS
        > ⌒ヽ5 Stars !!!!!
       /   へ\ Alright!! I'm Lovin' It!! <3
       /  / \\

    • PallaZ
      • RampageDeluxe

        That's like the spectrum of staying in the tanning bed too long.

      • jared9876

        This made me laugh way to hard....

      • Themostunclean

        From Simpsons to Cleveland.

    • A Silly Skeleton

      You're a treasure of this site.

  • StealthDawg


  • kofrman13

    A real complete game package on mobile for once. Amazing. Something worth buying for sure

    • hwangeruk

      Hmmmm, kofman, Zatu, did you all work for some marketing company? 100%, Amazing Package? Gamers don't talk like this, you are both and all full of sh*t. Not saying its a bad game, but "something worth buying for sure"? What does that even mean Kofman, you are urging people to "buy" you are in sales or marketing for sure. (Or on meds) leave off with the fake hyperbole.

      • Ferrick

        maybe not everyone is well educated in the English language? Or has it as their mother tongue?

      • MrGobbyManny

        Mate, I certainly have NO connection to the company. Yet here I am, taking the time to talk to rude and ungrateful persons such as yourself to truly recommend BUYING this game. Maybe Kofrman was simply saying that anyone considering buying this game, but were worried about the relatively high price tag, should buy the game anyway, because it is 'amazing', and indeed is 'a complete package'.

      • hwangeruk

        One of the pls buy it brigade has removed his marketing already. Lawliet in the comments below saying "buy it please" gamers don't urge gamers to "buy" they just says its a good game. only company related people with an axe to grind ask people to spend money. I smell a rate.

      • MrGobbyManny

        You smell a 'rate'...?

        Someone liked the game. Shared the love. So what? Believe me, I am not connected to this game, I shared the love.

        Thanks would be nice...

      • pillzhereish

        Whenever I love a game, I do urge people to buy it. Sue me, I guess...

      • Saxie81

        You must be paid by the Dev!! Lol

      • Sergio Ortiz

        You need to stop talking for all gamers. Believe it or not they don't all speak or think like you.

      • Komrad

        Well said. Markets set up bots or pay people to promote the game in the comments of reviews. It's a bad sign when a game cannot stand on its own merits.

      • Komrad

        So true . I didn't buy the game because of the bad marketing.

        'Buy game. It 100% great' lol!

      • Raphael Alexander

        Wow You are an idiot.

  • Based Xatu

    100% earned, best dungeon crawler/ action rpg on mobile. $10 well spent.

  • brantov

    Shaun, i love you man. and of course i love this brilliant game. simply amazing.

  • defunct32

    Does this runs well on iPod touch 5th Gen? Like always, stunning review, Shaun! <3

    • vic_viper_001

      I've only played abut the first five minutes, but it runs fine for for me.

      • defunct32

        Thank you!

  • ValentiaLyra

    Ha, the title! Lit geeks everywhere will love you for that, Shaun!

  • 7lilwhitewolf7

    Hey Shaun

  • Amenbrother

    So interesting tidbit here. I love this game but was bored of it in a few days but games like Mortal Kombat and Dungeon Hunter 5 keep me coming back like an addiction. No idea whats going on but I am scared lol

    • KageTakeo187

      It appears that you have fallen victim to the free to play trap. It just may be too late for you young lad.

      • Focus

        Well not all free to play games are a "trap". Even if at some point money will make it a whole lot easier, you can still play. So if you enjoy the game and you don't want to spend money, there still is a way to pass those "dead points".

    • Jake7905

      Once you hit that freemium needle, you'll need some time to withdraw before you can fully appreciate the fine wine that is premium gaming.

    • Stormourner

      some freemium games makes me bored while some keeps me playing it

  • JCho133

    Very good review, but found it strange that there was no mention of Crimson? Having a whole other character with a different playing style is a pretty big deal

    • Shaun Musgrave

      That would be the "cool unlockables", sir. 🙂

      • John

        Minor gripe here, but that Crimson unlock is way deep in the game! Its not that I mind working hard to get to it, but the way they spam it across the level start screen is weird. My guess is that they built the game to be deliverable either as a Freemium model or a Premium, and decided to make it premium in the end. Thank goodness and bless them for showing good form for this amazingly brilliant release.

      • bilboad

        They had been saying it would be a premium game since I first heard of it at least a year ago.

      • John

        That's cool and I'm glad to be wrong!

  • Press2Play

    I want dark souls on mobile.

    • Goggles789

      I would throw my money at that!

    • Stormourner

      aaaww yes =D

    • Ferrick

      i don't want to end up with a broken phone tyvm lol

    • runningbird

      I actually dreamt of playing dark souls on ipad. =, =

    • Joey Angelo

      There's something close to it called "Ire"

  • Mekklesack

    Santa clearly loves me

  • Goggles789

    Does the game feature options to turn off the voice acting, and skip the cut scenes?

    • dudewelcome

      You can skip the cutscenes, and switch your phone on silent during the text-box-dialogue-accompanied voice acting bits (Or furiously tap through them)

      • Goggles789

        Hey thanks, I appreciate the response.

  • italodance

    Best game ever with an MFi controller on iOS.

    • armilla

      Alright, I'm taking the bait after deliberating for too long!

    • Tuzzo

      Is it just me or is controller sensitivity set too low? I'm having a hard time playing with the C.T.R.L.i, the button presses are not registered in the game unless I firmly push the buttons. It may have something to do with C.T.R.L.i buttons being pressure-sensitive, but it would be nice if the game registered also light presses. In an action game like this, you need fast controls and pushing buttons all the way down to make them work is slower and tiresome :/

      Other than that, awesome game. I got it a couple of days ago at half price. That's a steal!

  • dalglir

    This game is AMAZING.

    • Komrad

      I'll be the judge of that. Wait, I just played it. Nope. Not amazing.

      • dalglir

        I respectfully disagree. Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy it as much as I am.

  • skullcruncher

    I knew this game was something special ever since I saw the first trailer.

  • DAN13LG

    Sexiest app icon ever

  • marksapolloa

    Just installed this game onto my tablet tonight, very nice and smooth, shame it doesn't look like I can turn off the subtitles but that's a small thing. Very impressive game all round and they have actually done IAP right too!

  • Ferrick

    Really fun game on my Android and surprisingly there's no in-app purchases either, but kinda wish that it wouldn't take that long to unlock the 2nd character lol

  • Lawliet

    Well deserved review. One of my top 5 iOS games ever and definitely GOTY material. Just buy it please.

    • Komrad

      just stop spamming, please.

  • hkgsulphate

    just 5 stars? it should be 10!

  • Serenityinaz12

    10 bucks for a full game?? SOLD!!! Eff all these freemium micro transaction crapfests

  • kylera

    Question to those of you who have iPad 4G models - any stuttering or slowdowns?

  • Focus

    Great game and I think it deserve high rate review. And this ain't the
    only site that gave it a high score. Anyway, for those interested, here
    are some nice tips and tricks to help you:

  • master Bates

    Where is the co-op mode that was in the demo last year?

  • anony mous

    Does it have a pvp?
    Is it playable online or offline?

  • Thomas Walsh

    Pretty good Diablo like clone. I am enjoying it. Worth the 10 bucks.

  • Raphael Alexander

    Can't recommend it enough, premium hack and slash and shoot fun.

Implosion - Never Lose Hope Reviewed by Shaun Musgrave on . Rating: 5