Star Battalion

Star Battalion

Explosive space shooter that’s not quite out of this world

iOS developers have a particularly difficult quandary on their hands, and at any point the possibility of producing a space shooter inevitably crops up. After all, the production of some genres of videogame that were designed for an age in which one control stick was the norm has proven troubling enough.

Like the modifier button-heavy Lylat Wars back on the Nintendo 64, Star Battalion suffers somewhat from a lack of accurately controlled movement, relying on the employment of a touch screen as a fallback. Which is a shame, seeing as this would have otherwise been a tidy, enjoyable shooter, albeit one that is over far too soon.

Set amid pretty much the most generic intergalactic civil war setting you’re ever likely to see, players must navigate through a series of missions, based primarily on neutralising ground-based targets from the air, but occasionally dabbling in some regular dog-fighting.

Again, the limits of the available input mechanisms essentially dictate that this should be the case. Utilising a virtual stick for movement, the game dictates that players must swipe their finger vertically across the screen to perform U-turns, and horizontally for barrel rolls.

Both of these are too simple to pull off, with accidental manoeuvres taking place at inopportune moments as players attempt to use another piece of screen furniture to speed up or slam on the brakes.

All in all, things prove just a little too fiddly to be relied upon in the heat of war – and that’s not even including the secondary weaponry that appears chronically incapable of hitting the highlighted target, which proves incredibly annoying.

A crying shame, as there’s easily enough variety to satisfy even the most irritable iPad user. The set-piece bosses require a little more thought from gamers than is involved simply in steaming headlong for the nearest red reticule, firing wildly.

There’s also the prospect of multiplayer action for the hardier of souls, with its associated legion of ships each taking their own special abilities into battle.

Overall then, Star Battalion represents a flawed but nevertheless sterling attempt to mould 3D space combat onto the iPad.

Rated 3 out of 5

Star Battalion offers value for money, a competent if unspectacular control system, and a fair degree of variety.