With a title like Mutant Storm, you’d be forgiven to expect the game to be populated with either grotesque monsters or costume-wearing heroes like Rogue and Wolverine. Instead, Mutant Storm is a top-down space shooter that offers up tons of intense action, complete with claustrophobic levels and bright neon graphics.
Originally a PC and Xbox Live Arcade game, Mutant Storm has made the transition to touch controls with ease. Like any dual-stick shooter on iOS, your left thumb controls the ship’s movement, and your right thumb directs a stream of bullets (you can reverse this if you’re left-handed). There are no onscreen sticks to keep your thumbs on, and everything feels just right.
Each level is an enclosed arena of varying geometric shape. You’re alone at first, but soon enemies start to fizz to life, and usually they swarm toward you. Your job, naturally, is to eliminate them before they eliminate you. Enemies come in a number of varieties, with different movement patterns and personalities. Some take numerous hits to kill, some shoot back at you, and some stomp around and shield the others. Some even morph and become more powerful if you let them live too long.
I fell into a burning ring of enemies.
The usual powerups appear, like shields and heat-seeking missiles, and you have a limited number of last-ditch bombs that can clear the area around you if you get cornered. It’s all very standard stuff for the genre, but it’s done well here.
The game comes with two modes, Adventure and Tally. Adventure mode gives you three lives to get through packs of levels. With 89 levels and a steady increase in difficulty, that’s quite a bit of content, even if the levels never feel very distinct from one another. Each one simply fills with enemies, the only differences being the shape of the arena, the types of enemies that appear, and how many you have to kill. Tally Mode gives you the same stages, but here you can play them one at a time to beat your previous high score.
That’s really all there is to Mutant Storm. There’s no hook or gimmick to set it apart from other dual-stick shooters, but that’s probably because it’s a port of a 2005 game. It’s a fun and frantic, and it controls great, but if you’ve played games like Geometry Wars and Tilt to Live, there’s not much more to see in Mutant Storm. Even so, a thrill is a thrill.