Illuminations Hands-On Impressions

We’ve been seeing a lot of two-stick shooters pop up on the App Store recently–games like Paradise: The Beginning and 2079 are two examples–and Illuminations, by Killer Robots, is another game in the same mold.

Well, not quite, actually. Illuminations doesn’t quite rate as a two-stick shooter because your cannon always faces forward, instead of swiveling to match a simulated thumbstick’s attitude. In fact, the game’s only touch controls are for your weapons; touching the left side of the screen fires cannons, while a double-tap on the right unleashes a screen-clearing bomb. All ship movement is handled with tilt controls, which seem sensitive enough to get the job done.

But the game sure has that two-stick shooter look to it: part Geometry Wars, part fireworks display. Rockets fly into view from the bottom of the screen. When you hit them with your cannon, they explode into plumes of color and start a score multiplier rolling. Meanwhile, various kinds of enemies are trying to barge into you or shoot you, which freezes you in place for a short while. If you’re not shooting stuff, your “excitement” meter runs out of juice, and you lose.

Upon cursory examination, Illuminations looks like a cool little shoot-em-up that may be a tad on the easy side. We’ll write more as we play through it.