As is often the case with games on the iDevice, in Atlantis Sky Patrol the fate of the planet rests solely on your index finger. Doomsday devices have been planted in 111 different locations across the world, and the only way to stop them is to complete a series of Match-3 marble-shooting games. This globetrotting adventure doesn’t involve seeing the sights, but it does offer loads of fun.
Atlantis Sky Patrol is a riff on the genre popularized in part by Luxor and Stoneloops! of Jurassica. But, just as Stoneloops is a deeper game than Luxor, Atlantis takes the genre one step further. Once again, the goal of this game is to destroy the colorful lines of balls that are regularly pumped into the maze-like playing field. To stop the balls’ progression, you glide your ship along the bottom of the screen and fire into the line to make three like-colored balls in a row. Do that, and they’ll disappear.
Let me bounce something off you.
One twist that Atlantis Sky Patrol adds is clusters of stationary balls on each stage that must be destroyed to stop new lines from entering into the playing field. This adds some interesting depth to the gameplay, as you’re constantly having to decide between focusing on the lines of balls advancing toward the exit, or eradicating the stationary balls.
Another unique feature is the permanent upgrade system. With the money you earn in each level, you can purchase upgrades that increase the speed of your shots, make your ship magnetic to the falling powerups and money, or slow the frequency of new lines of balls rolling into the playing field. These upgrades are a great incentive to keep playing, as the increments of each noticeably affect the gameplay.
The developers sprinkle creative elements in many of the levels as well, like moving blockades that thwart your shots, curved tracks that your ship glides over to make aiming more challenging, and reflective obstacles off of which you can ricochet your shots.
“A” for asteroids.
Our gripes with this game are very minor. Your finger often impedes your view of the screen, making it difficult to see which color ball you have on tap. Also, you can swap out the ball you’re going to fire next by shaking the iDevice, but it’s awkward to shake while holding your finger on the screen. However, these issues did not significantly hinder our enjoyment of the game.
The music and graphics are superb. The visuals are art deco style, giving the game an early 20th century feel, and the story is delivered via newspaper headlines, like in the movies of that era. There’s even a cool (if easy) minigame to help you rack up money every five levels.
If you’re at all interested in the genre, Atlantis Sky Patrol is a Must Have. It equals the fun of Stoneloops, but improves on the formula in several ways. If you’ve never played one of these games, this is the perfect place to start. And if you’re still the fence, be sure to check out the Lite version.