Above and Below Review

World War 1 brought with it many innovations that defined the era of modern warfare, like tanks and planes, to name a few. Above and Below is not as terrifyingly innovative as the war it depicts, but it does a decent job of imitating successful top-down shooters. Call it conventional warfare.

You play as a lone pilot who is tasked with single-handedly winning the war. Waves of enemy fighters zoom into view, and as you blow them up, they drop coins and powerups galore. The coins can be used for permanent upgrades to your weapons and armor, and the powerups can repair you on the spot or give you a burst of extra firepower.

“See you die” or “Cutie”?

The countryside you fly over is awfully bland and uninteresting, with gray and blue color schemes that sort of blend together. The missions are equally uninspiring: just waves of planes, a few tanks and bunkers, and a simple boss every few levels.

What makes Above and Below enjoyable are the simple but effective flying controls. You move by tilting your device, and you can perform a few special moves like barrel rolls and loop-de-loops by swiping across or up and down on the screen.

Leaving on a midnight train to Germany.

You can also trigger special ammo, camouflage (invincibility), and speed boosts (bullet time) with switches along the bottom of the screen. Just flying and picking up powerups is the best part of the game, and you’ll be doing it a lot.

We should warn you, though, that when we tried to play this game on an iPhone 3G, it frequently crashed and reset all of our progress. We only managed to make it through to the end on a 3rd Generation iPod Touch, so we’re hoping that the developer patches this app to fix the stability.

Smooth flying controls barely pull this one out of a death spiral due to the dull level design and game-killing bugs on an iPhone 3G. A fun, easy shooter, Above and Below will let you breeze your way through one of the world’s bloodiest wars. Just don’t let those glitches shoot you down.

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