If you consider yourself among the John Grubers of the world and have an unnatural love for Max Miedinger with Eduard Hoffmann’s masterpiece commonly known as the font “Helvetica", make sure you’re sitting down for this one. iPhone developers Speed Noise Movement have built an entire game focused around the typeface. It’s called Vetica [$1.99], and in the game you pilot an A, loaded with 12 different weapons, which each shoot different types of punctuation served up in a standard vertical shooter format. Also, I’ll openly admit that I chuckled a little harder than I should have at Vetica’s tagline: “In letterspace, no one can hear you scream!"
If you’ve played a vertical shooter on the iPhone, you’ll already be familiar with how Vetica plays. Dragging your finger on the screen moves your ship around, which automatically shoots at whatever enemies appear onscreen. An arcade mode will take you through all 13 levels of the game (each with their own unique boss), and once a level is cleared you’ll be able to skip directly to it by selecting “levels" from the main menu. Plus+ is also included for online leaderboards and achievements.
It’s really clever how the game has been put together, with enemies that consist of single characters, or multiple characters combined together. Enemies behave differently too, with varied weaponry and movement. I love the boss battles: as with any vertical shooter, bosses are appropriately massive and in Vetica are comprised of glorious Helvetica-based ascii-art.
If you don’t find yourself even slightly amused that a vertical shooter now exists revolving solely around the font Helvetica, you’re probably better off sticking with some of the other more colorful shooters out there. However, if you’re the kind of person who smugly lists Helvetica first whenever defining the font-family attribute, you need this game. Doubly so if you can hold an intelligent conversation on the differences between Helvetica and Helvetica Neue. In fact, if you’re that kind of person, you’ll also probably love The Font Game.