Some games catch on in the TouchArcade forums in a big way, and as far as shoot-em-ups go, one of the favorites around those parts is Phoenix HD (Free). Its original thread has over 130 pages going back almost four years, with TouchArcade readers sharing scores, stories, and laughs. Part of its longevity is owed to excellent support from its developer Firi Games, who pushes out fairly big updates a couple of times per year, with regular smaller updates to ensure things are running smoothly.
This time around, the big update comes in the form of a presentation overhaul, and my, is it something. Using the latest version of Firi Games’s Flare Engine, Phoenix HD now supports Metal on 64-bit devices. What does that mean in practical terms? More effects, better-looking effects, and overall upgrade in the visuals, all without sacrificing any of the speed that makes the game so much fun to play. The sound effects have also been improved in this update, allowing for up to 32 simultaneous effects to play while giving each one a deeper, richer quality.
Those who like to take screenshots while they play undoubtedly know the pain of trying to reach both buttons during a bullet hell shooter without getting blown up. Pausing the game usually puts clutter on the screen, though, so it’s not like you can just take a picture that way. Well, it’s probably got a pretty narrow audience, but the last big addition to this update is a screenshot button on the pause screen. If you tap that button, you’ll get a clean gameplay shot, almost like you pulled off a Houdini trick with your fingers all while being awesome at shooters.
It’s great to see a game this long in the tooth continue to get major updates from its developer, especially a game as beloved in the iOS community as Phoenix HD. Granted, you’ll have to have a Metal-capable device to get the most out of it this time around, but that number is growing every day. Here’s hoping this great shoot-em-up can keep on kicking for another few years at least!