What do you call a top-down vertical shooter that’s not quite as frantic as a bullet-hell game like Espgaluda II? Would it be bullet heck? Bullet purgatory? Whatever it is, that’s the category the excellent new twitch-reaction game AirAttack falls under, at least until the later levels, when the screen fills up with cascades of hot lead, and it’s all you can do to stay alive.
Like in any good shooter, destruction is the primary concern of AirAttack, and there’s plenty of it to go around. Enemies stream on and off the screen, begging to be blown out of the sky, while land vehicles and buildings can be bombed into heaps of twisted metal. You can wreck just about everything that appears onscreen, which grants players an awesome feeling of power.
Bombs over Baghdad.
Your standard gun fires a nonstop stream of bullets as you maneuver your plane freely. Every control method you could want is accounted for, but the default ‘touch’ one suited us just fine. Double-tapping anywhere on the screen drops a bomb, which is useful for destroying tanks, turrets, and buildings, and touch buttons appear as you purchase new weapons from the store.
Of course, not all of the destruction will be at the enemy’s expense. Under the Normal difficulty mode you’ll occasionally find yourself massively outgunned upon starting a new level, and you’ll lose all your lives in no time. This could be a game-crippling flaw, but if you make smart purchases from the in-game store and memorize enemy attack patterns you should be able to plow through after a few tries. The well-placed checkpoints are helpful, and if you still can’t stand the heat, there’s always Easy mode.
Wasn’t this supposed to be dormant?
Every building you bomb and enemy formation you decimate yields either points, ammo, temporary upgrades, or money that you can spend at the store that appears at each checkpoint. Money is extremely desirable, because it allows you to purchase helpful upgrades and special weapons. Points, on the other hand, seem less valuable because the game doesn’t have online leaderboards. While AirAttack is very fun, there’s not much reason to go back and replay it without online scoring.
But despite this, AirAttack is a seriously fun game. The bosses are super-sized and terrifyingly well armed, but if you can figure out the optimal patterns to fight them, you’ll do just fine. The music that accompanies the game is also top notch and fits the gameplay perfectly. If frantic shoot-‘em-ups are your thing, AirAttack is one you’ll play to the end.