Battle Squadr1 Review

If you’re old enough, you might recall the Amiga computer. Released in the mid-’80s, the Amiga was synonymous with cutting-edge graphics and amazing games well into the early ’90s. Now, of course, your iPhone has power undreamed of back then, but the Amiga had plenty of fantastic games that deserve another look for lovers of classic gaming. One such classic is Battle Squadron, a top-tier arcade-style shooter from 1989.

Known for a blistering difficulty level, impressive variety of landscapes, and refined shooter action, the slightly renamed BattleSquadr1 fits nicely into the iPhone’s shooter collection. There’s no denying that game definitely looks like an old 16-bit console release and the graphics are decidedly low-res– especially on the larger iPad screen. The visuals are still colorful and engaging, with enough diversity to make the hardcore action continually appealing.

Don’t cry, mountain.

BattleSquadr1 has some original elements that still stand out. While the inclusion of four weapon types, each with six levels of upgrades, and super bombs are old hat by now, the game’s mix of top side and underground maps is distinctive. There are gaping holes in the levels that lead below ground, but you aren’t forced to take the first one. If your ship is still underpowered for the dangerous cavern missions, the game will let players keep scrolling forward to earn more points and upgrade before heading down.

Having the right weapon properly upgraded is a key to survival. Even on the easiest difficulty level, the action is amazingly challenging for anyone who isn’t used to the crowded nature of the so-called bullet-hell style of gameplay. BattleSquadr1 crowds the screen with bullets and bad guys of various sorts, so players will be kept constantly on the move.

A blast from the past.

Three control schemes are offered, though finding one that fits exactly right might take some trial and error. The tilt controls work quite well, but the d-pad acts like an old school digital joystick and is actually divided into directional arrows. Only one directional input works at a time and it just feels awkward. The direct touch controls are likely the most ideal controls, but even then there’s a slight lag in response. It’s not a game breaker, but a smoother virtual d-pad would have been welcome.

The developer has promised an update to add the two-player cooperative play of the original game, which will add immensely to the overall replay value of the game. BattleSquadr1 also includes Game Center and leaderboard support, and is, overall, a welcome port of a classic game.

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