There was a time when you couldn’t take a single step in the App Store without tripping over dozens upon dozens of old-school-inspired top-down shooters. I think I “blame" Geometry Wars for this “problem" due to its dazzling particle effects and neon-soaked everything, with numerous developers trying to emulate the formula with their iOS offerings. It also didn’t hurt that a dual-stick top-down shooter was extremely well-suited to touchscreen controls. As such, even the earliest days of the App Store were filled with Geometry Dash-like games, and developer Jean-Francois Geyelin was right in the mix with his PewPew series.
The original PewPew that launched around this time in 2009 started off extremely basic with just a couple of game modes, but it was still extremely fun and, well, extremely free. Due to this it developed a cult following and over the coming years gained quite a few new features via updates. Then about a year after the original game’s release, PewPew 2 arrived and built off of the solid foundation of the first game but added numerous new game modes, a full campaign, online components, and tons more. It also cost money, though just a couple of bucks, and we felt it was well worth it in our review.
While both PewPew games remained functional, neither had been updated in a number of years and I kind of figured that we’d never hear from old PewPew again. Much to my shock this week I was proven wrong when PewPew Live launched in the App Store. Why PewPew Live instead of PewPew 3? Well I imagine it’s because this new game is built to be the last PewPew game you’ll ever need, as while it does feature a number of new modes to play through including some old favorites from the earlier games, it also features community made levels which basically gives it the potential to never run out of new levels or game modes to play. On top of that it also features local and online multiplayer, truly putting the “live" in PewPew Live. While no level editor is built directly into the mobile versions of the game, you can find out more about creating your own levels on the game’s website.
So not only did one of my favorite top-down shooter series make a comeback, but it did so as its biggest and best self yet. And what price would you be willing to pay for such a thing? $10? $100? How about… nothing! Yes, for some reason, PewPew Live is completely free with no ads or IAP to speak of. There is a pretty sweet ship customization system with unlockable ship skins, trails, and bullet types, and the developer hopes to implement IAP at some point as a way to more quickly unlock cosmetic things like that, but vows there will be “no pay-to-win nonsense!" if that should happen. For the time being though, PewPew Live is just… totally free. Free as a bird. And it’s extremely good and you should go download it right this minute.