If you’re into shmups you should take a good look at Glandarius Wing Strike! It’s a little frantic, there’s tons of shooting, and there’s definitely no shortage of targets to beat down.
Probably the most unique thing about Glandarius is the control scheme… you can literally play this game with one finger. Tap to the left or right of your little fighting vessel and it’ll speed over in that direction while spitting out a whole lotta bullets, and for smaller movements you can simply drag the finger a little. In a way, one-finger control is pretty cool because it means you can play just about anytime, anywhere as long as you have a free hand. At the same time, though, this control scheme also restricts your ship to left and right movements which is kind of limiting in the gameplay department.
At first I was a little put off by the limited movement, but after getting some practice in things got easier. It’s tempting to want to do a lot of finger dragging because that’s also how homing lasers are launched (drag and release), but tapping to the far side of the screen can really save your ass when there’s a wave of enemy fire drifting in to kill you. Still, though, I find myself wishing I could escape death by flying forward and navigating around all the bullets flying through the air instead of being stuck on a horizontal line.
The other limiting factor is that, through three levels (out of five total), I never encountered a single powerup! Just about every shoot ‘em up I’ve ever played has had powerups that increase firepower or extend life or something, and they really add a lot to the game.
On the bright side, AQ Interactive has put together a really solid game overall. The graphics and sound are both pretty far up there in quality and I could see players getting hooked on this shooter, partially for the glory of getting on the global scoreboard, and also just because it’s really challenging to stay alive. With all the incoming enemy fire to dodge you really need to be a master at controlling the ship which, despite the lateral-only movement, is harder than it sounds.
There are two big things I’d like to see added to Glandarius:
- A health meter so I know when my game’s about to end
- Some kind of powerup, even if it’s just an occasional health pack that drifts down the screen
Achievement rewards would also be nice, ie: get an extra life or a health boost when you hit a certain score. I suck pretty bad at this game so there’s a chance these things might actually exist already and I just haven’t done well enough to get them. Another minor complaint is that I’d like to put more than six characters on the scoreboard, but since I’ll never score that high I guess it’s no big deal to me!
Oh yeah, and the game doesn’t defer to the iPod. Groan. But it does obey the mute switch, so that’s good.
As shmups go, Glandarius Wing Strike is a good quality game that’s nicely done and pretty fun to play. Personally I think the $4.99 asking price is bit high, but if you’re not as big of a cheapskate as me then just get the game and play the hell out of it!