If there’s one thing that’s always been true about TouchArcade it’s that our community is great at finding hidden gems. When a member of our forums posted about developer Joel Rochon’s new game Backfire ($2.99) late last week, and other members were buzzing over how good it was, I knew it was a pretty safe bet to pick it up. And yet again this proves our forum members have impeccable taste in games. Backfire is a top-down arena shooter with the simple gimmick that you fire from the back of your ship. Get it? Back-fire. Wherever you tap on the screen is where your ship will point to and the blast from your weapon is what moves you around. It’s a bit tricky at first but once you warm up to the movement mechanics you’ll be zipping around like a pro.
Backfire is split into different chapters and the goal is to destroy waves of enemies before squaring off against a boss. The trick is that your bullets have a limited range, so you’ll need to get in close to an enemy in order to land your shots. Not TOO close though, as enemies will latch onto you and start sucking the life right out of you if you’re not careful. When this happens the screen zooms in and the music intensifies as pixelized blood starts spurting from your ship, and you’ll need to frantically tap to break free from their grasp. It’s honestly terrifying, at the risk of sounding like a weenie. One of the most brilliant things about Backfire is how it’s constantly forcing you to take risks and face danger, and it makes for some exhilarating moments.
Defeated enemies will drop little coins, called souls, and in between runs you can visit a shop and spend your souls on a variety of different upgrades. There are a number of different weapons to unlock and upgrade, and they all provide pretty sweeping changes to the strategy of how you play. For example, your default weapon fires automatically so you’re pretty much always in motion and the game plays kind of like a traditional top-down shooter but with tap-to-move controls. The shotgun though only fires when you tap the screen, and it’s range is really short, so it forces you to kind of kick back and wait for a bunch of deadly enemies to get near you before you blast them with a spray of bullets and hopefully get away before one has a chance to start gnawing on you.
You can swap between up to four different weapons on the fly and everything besides your default weapon has limited ammo, so you’ll need to be resourceful in how you use them and be good about trying to pick up ammo drops from defeated enemies. In addition to the weapons you can also upgrade a number of passive abilities like your health and damage, as well as increase the rates of certain item drops. It’s like a nifty little RPG progression system tacked onto a frantic arcade shooter. Oh, and the visuals in Backfire are fantastic. I’m a sucker for glowing neon stuff. There’s plenty more to be said about Backfire, but this is getting a bit long for a “this game is fantastic and you should go play it" type of post, so I’ll simply say this game is fantastic and you should go play it. As a final cherry on top Backfire is fully premium with no IAP, and as I’ve said previously you can read even more impressions and discussion about the game in our forums.