Sometimes a buck on the app store can surprise you and iYamato from Geppetto Inc is solid proof.  This gem of a game couldn’t be simpler to play yet has that elusive ‘one more try’ quality coursing through its veins.  The premise is that you’re in charge of defending battleship Yamato, the infamous ‘unsinkable’ WW2 warship which was the largest and heaviest ever constructed.  The gameplay consists of a landscape screen orientation with the nameship at the bottom and various ‘enemy’ planes swooping in from all directions in an attempt to send you to the bottom of the cold, deep sea.  I say ‘enemy’ only because even though the developer was very careful to not label anything as Japanese or American, we all know what flag Yamato flew and who was trying to sink her!  That’s all I’ll say about that as this game is definitely not about stirring up old prejudices; to me it’s really just a fun game about shooting down planes with big-ass guns.  Furthering that notion, the developer has plans to add DLC in the form of new battleships, weapons, enemies and items which should add lots of variety.

The controls consist of a ‘hot swipe’ area which aims your (auto-firing) AA guns and adjacent to that a fire button for the main cannons (which are aimed in sync with the AA guns but take a few seconds to reload).  This is mirrored on either side of the bottom of the screen so you can individually and strategically wield the left and right batteries.  The Yamato itself also responds to tilting but it’s very subtle and appears to have no notable effect on gameplay.  From there on out it’s a steady onslaught with only the briefest pause between missions.  There’s no objective to missions beyond the obvious ’stay alive’ so they serve only to give you respite but also fuel your sense of accomplishment   So then, fighter planes in various formations drop bombs and are the general ‘pests’ of the game but there’s also bombers that zip across the top and lay down explosive canisters, obstacles (that block your fire) or MOAB’s (big mofo bombs) plus every now and then a massive juggernaut swoops in and just sort of hovers over you (odd for WW2-era technology but whatever works), serving mainly to obstruct your firing lanes so need to eliminate it quick whenever it shows up.
A word about the production quality of this game…fantastique and certainly beyond what it’s 99 cent price tag projects.  A cinematic, scrolling sky is the backdrop for the expertly rendered craft and chaotic dance of flak and explosions which quickly become the mainstay of the gaming experience.  Top it off with superb sound fx and themed BGM and the audio-visual portion of this game is a feast for the senses.  The controls are responsive and the game runs silky smooth.
Certainly all seems well so far but let’s get into those gripes and suggestions.
  • No ingame sound and music volume controls.
  • No way to resume a game.
  • Game only remembers your name for score submission until you exit.
  • The leaderboard doesn’t indicate what mission the person died on, silly as this is probably just as important to players as the score itself
  • More of an observation is that the developers chose to represent damage to your ship by how much you’ve sunk as opposed to a simple damage bar.  Might be cool to have the option of both and perhaps in the future a way to undo some of this by simulating repairs which would increase replayability as right now I pretty much always die on the same mission every…single…time.
So in summary, awesome game here folks and highly recommended, ’nuff said.  Oh, there is one thing more to say; head over to the comments section for some promo codes!  Please everyone be sure to post a comment with which code you’ve taken.
version reviewed – 1.0
reviewed on – iPhone 3GS 16GB OS3.0
screen flip – no
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iTunes music support – yes

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