Category Archives: Shooter

Shoot-em-ups are an old, old genre. It's not unreasonable to say that they are the oldest genre in video games, actually. They were huge, everyone made one, and then some time later, they were no longer huge. Not long after that, they were nearly extinct. They've enjoyed a minor renaissance in recent years thanks to the opening of more viable channels for lower budget games, but even now, they're nowhere near their former prominance. It's clear that the final blow was dealt by their progeny, the first-person shooter, but even before that, they had taken a heavy tumble. People simply got tired of the same old gameplay and settings. The biggest successes in the post-boom period of the genre try to mix up the themes and settings a bit, so that instead of always being a spaceship or a fighter plane, sometimes you're a gothic lolita witch or a princess riding on the back of a giant bug. It's a small shot of freshness for a genre that, for many, feels stale...

Freebie Alert: 'Flying Hamster' and 'SunFlowers' Both Updated for Widescreen and Currently Free

I'm a big, big fan of shoot 'em ups, and one of my favorites is Game Atelier's Flying Hamster [$2.99 / $3.99 (HD)]. It's a good shooter in its own right, with tight controls, tons of enemies, cool power-ups and epic boss fights, but what really puts it over the top for me is its sheer absurdity. Seriously, chickens laying explosive golden eggs, cats getting wasted off of "root beer" and vomiting, and cows shooting milk at you from their udders like a mini-gun are the norm, and that's just in the first level...

I find it kind of interesting that although one of the appealing aspects of flying is the freedom from our earthly bindings, a great deal of games built around the concept opt to set themselves up like a dark ride at Disneyland. You get in your ship, or on your dragon, or into your fighter jet, and are pulled along a rail while all kinds of craziness unfolds around you. Usually you're more the gunner than the pilot, since you can really only move yourself around in the little one-way tunnel the game has set up for you. There are a lot of good reasons for this kind of set-up, including a desire to guide the experience for the player to create more cinematic scenes, technical limitations of one sort or another, or a simple lack of the resources required to create a full, free 3D world. I suspect with Star Horizon [$3.99], the new space-themed rail shooter from Tabasco Interactive, it's that first reason more than anything else...

Following hot on the heels of their movie-licensed shooter Robocop [Free], Glu Games has finally taken their follow-up to Frontline Commando [Free] and Frontline Commando: D-Day [Free] out of soft launch and into wide release. Robocop itself used many of the same mechanics as the Frontline Commando games, so it's perhaps not that surprising that some of the new elements in Frontline Commando 2 [Free] echo certain parts of it. Luckily, one thing they didn't carry over, at least not completely, is the stamina meter, but even without that hanging over its head, Frontline Commando 2 is kind of a dud sequel, particularly when held against D-Day...

Crytek's latest mobile effort, The Collectables [Free] which was unveiled on the sly back at WWDC last year before being officially announced this past December, has exited its soft-launch period and is now widely available. Here's the brief trailer that was released during the announcement in December, so you can get a quick look at what The Collectables is like...

If you’re looking for some slapstick arcade shooter shenanigans, then Pixeljam’s Glorkian Warrior: Trials of Glork [$2.99] will most likely be your new favorite game. The goofy mashup is a collaboration between Eisner Award winning cartoonist James Kochalka and indie game studio Pixeljam themselves, the very same developers of the prehistorically entertaining Dino Run! ..

In space no one can hear you scream, but you can hear a lot of corny camp voice acting. It is hard to explain that an assignment as an astronaut that takes years to even come close to achieving in 2014 are left to complete jackasses in the future. Nevertheless that is what we are stuck with in Beyond Space [$2.99]...

With the new Robocop movie in theaters, I'm sure many people are spending some time with the tie-in game of the same name, Robocop [Free], from Glu Games. I reviewed it a while back and found it to be a bit of a bear thanks to its monetization aspects, but if you're feeling like being Robocop, this is pretty much your best option apart from threatening a druglord and putting your faith in the city of Detroit to put you back together again. So, I felt that, in the spirit of my previous guide for Batman: Arkham Origins [Free], if you're going to play this, you might as well have a guide to help you get through as efficiently as possible without reaching into your cybernetic wallet compartment in your leg, by which I mean, your pocket...

'Bug Heroes 2' Review - This Sequel Ant Fooling Around

A few years ago, Foursaken Media released Bug Heroes [Free], an awesome hybrid of castle defense and twin stick shooting with a healthy dose of RPG mechanics sprinkled in. What could have turned out to be an overly ambitious idea instead ended up just right, offering players tons of content with great core mechanics. Given how well it went over with iOS gamers, it was probably inevitable that we would one day be talking about the sequel, and here we are. Bug Heroes 2 [$1.99] is an excellent follow-up to the first game, maintaining the same basic elements that made the first game work so well and adding a few twists, all while piling a giant heap of new content on top and giving the whole thing a beautiful shine. The end result is just about everything a fan could want out of a sequel...

Nostalgia is a heck of a thing. Like many of you, I like to indulge in revisiting my childhood on occasion. To tell the truth, though, when it comes to games, I feel like I never fully left my childhood favorites behind. Not only am I big on retro collections and classic re-releases, I actually have an NES and SNES connected to my main TV, plugged in and ready to go at all times. I keep my old brick Game Boy in an empty drawer in the kitchen in case I want to play some Tetris while I wait for the water to boil. There's one important part of my gaming past that I fell out of touch with over the years, however, and that's computer gaming. My first gaming hardware that I actually owned and had in my house, apart from a Coleco Mini Arcade version of Galaxian, was a Commodore 64. It was only a couple of years later at most that I got an NES, but those Commodore years remain as formative to my gaming memories as hanging off of arcade machines at the restaurant where my mother worked...

What do you suppose ran through the mind of your nameless, faceless, Indiana Jones-wannabe adventurer when he desecrated an ancient Egyptian temple and awoke hundreds of bloodthirsty mummies from their eternal slumber? "I should have parked closer to the temple" would be my guess. His predicament is our gain, as Escape from Doom [Free] is a rollicking good time...

'R-Type II' Review - Don't Bydo More Than You Can Chew

Seeing the Irem logo come up when starting a game still makes me a little sad. We've seen a lot of important game companies go softly into the night, but somehow, seeing Irem give up game development to focus on pachinko machines hurts a little bit more than the usual. At the time they made the decision, it stung all the more because it resulted in virtually all of their games being pulled from digital services, including the original R-Type, one of the true classics of its genre. As a bit of a silver lining, though, Irem seems to be agreeable about licensing their older games out, and R-Type has slowly been making a return. Last summer saw DotEmu's enhanced re-release of R-Type [$1.99] for iOS, which offered the original game with a few new options. It's a great version of a game that's been ported to just about every piece of hardware imaginable, as long as you can't imagine an NES...

Making a traditional shoot-em-up out of the Star Wars license is such a great idea that you just know something had to go wrong. A curious spin-off of a spin-off series, LEGO Star Wars: Microfighters [$0.99] seems to naturally have its sights set on the younger Star Wars fans. It's about as basic a vertical shooter as you could imagine, with little of the imagination one would associate with the LEGO franchise. In and of itself, there's nothing wrong with that, especially considering the heavy debt the shooter genre owes to the original films, but the end result is a fairly unremarkable game that isn't even packed with much fanservice, leaving it without the usual last resort many Star Wars games have had to retreat to...

This past November, Liv Games debuted the latest entry in their "Wars" series with the sci-fi strategy title Stellar Wars [$0.99]. Today the game has received a massive new update, and to celebrate the game is now temporarily free for the first time ever. This trilogy of games began with Legendary Wars [$0.99] back in early 2011. While predominantly a castle defense game, Legendary Wars actually stuffed a bunch of different kinds of genres into its lengthy campaign, along with a humorous story and killer visuals. It all blended together incredibly well, and was so full of content it easily kept us busy until the next game in the series, Monster Wars [$0.99], launched in early 2012, almost exactly a year later...

Broken Arrow. Face/Off. And the bluntly titled Bullet in the Head. When you think of John Woo, you think of firefights and blood. Lots and lots of firefights and blood. You may also think of explosions coming from the most unlikely of sources, like a piece of fruit...

Copyright 2014, TouchArcade.com, LLC.