Updated: Rebel Onslaught Review

Fresh on the market, Rebel Onslaught found its first update already. We have used the new ability to continue from the last level reached–which was sorely lacking–and found it useful. The option to toggle firing on and off is rather worthless. We do like the barrel roll move, though. It serves a useful defensive purpose and looks neat. These are the type of things that should have been included in the game from the get-go, and while they weren’t enough to bump the game up to a 3, it’s a step in the right direction.

We enjoy playing the flying games on our iDevice–with accelerometer controls and tap shooting, such gameplay can give you a lot of bang for your buck. Some games, like Iron Man: Aerial Assault, really nail the whole experience, from the gun options to the level selection… but others, like Rebel Onslaught, leave a lot to be desired.

In Rebel Onslaught, you control your rebel plane with the accelerometer, while an auto-fire system that shoots continuously. You’re given a specific target to destroy at any cost on each level. While you fly through forests and clouds and oceans and the like attempting to reach and obliterate this boss, you’ll be besieged by hordes of enemy planes and ordinance. This makes for a pretty dangerous flight, so you’ll need to use your smart bombs and missile lock capabilities in the lower right of your screen to maximize your inflicted damage. Your heads-up display also lets you change your control setting and use a quick feint-dodge maneuver that just might keep you alive. Overall, the game plays very well, and the decision to allow in-game adjustments of the angle of your iDevice while you play and the sensitivity of the controller really helps.

It all sounds good, we know, but there’s a lot of things missing that make the game seem rather amateurish. For instance, there is no feedback when you take damage–sound, vibration, or otherwise–other than a near-invisible decrease of color on your health bar. Also, your weapons deal plenty of damage, but they all look more or less the same on screen; we expect our big explosions to pop off the screen, and these don’t.

The worlds are different in scope and looks, but they play more or less the same, even when you adjust the difficulty meter you can adjust. You can replay a level you’ve beaten, but you can’t save a game in progress–a major oversight for a linear game like this one. Furthermore, flying evidences a glitch we couldn’t believe made it all the way through game development: hitting certain solid objects merely bounces your craft backwards, without taking damage.

Frankly, Rebel Onslaught’s graphics aren’t very impressive for this stage in the iDevice’s life. There’s no slowdown, which is good, but the textures aren’t as sharp as we’d like, and there is very little sense of flight or speed. The sound effects in most places are appropriately Star Wars-like, but even that wasn’t a full win; one sound design in particular, a firing burst from your plane, sounds like it was made by a person in a sound booth. The music is an entirely forgettable mishmash of techno that we quickly turned off.

We think Rebel Onslaught certainly has a solid gameplay foundation, but its many small flaws kept us from wanting to keep playing. Until the developer goes back over the game and applies a few more coats of polish, there’s plenty of other options in the App store that are a better use of your $4.99.

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