cover

Spaceborn iOS Review

In the past few years mobile games have become huge and now offer a whole bunch of different games for each and every genre and player. There are cutting edge technology games that push graphics as far as they will possibly go, and social games that allow you to play with your friends easier than ever before. But I personally am a huge fan of games that really seem like they are made for the touch screen. It’s great having a PS3 game ported to iOS but if the controls feel awkward to such a level that ruins the overall experience, then why bother. Spaceborn however fits right into the comfortable and fun category that would only feel right on mobile.

Spaceborn is one of the simplest games I’ve played in a while. There are no levels to play through or characters to pick from. Instead you must simply navigate your single ship through space, dodging meteorites and alien ships by moving your ship around the screen with your finger. The aim of the game is to reach the next boss and defeat it before losing all lives and meeting your inevitable doom.

1_2

Throughout your mission you will encounter many forms of alien ships that each attack in their own specific ways; from suicidal homing ships to bomb firing space stations. Some enemies will drop power-ups that consist of additional lives or new weapons. When a weapon is collected, it will replace your default weapon until the ammunition has depleted. Some weapons definitely feel more effective than others and function in different ways. Slow-traveling homing rockets are useful in taking out strong enemies but might not be so useful in catching fast movers. All enemies also drop coins which will allow you to purchase permanent ship upgrades such as improved coin magnet radius, enhanced thrusters which allow your ship to keep up with your finger better, additional damage to all weapons and extra lives. Two additional upgrades can be bought after beating each boss and include a checkpoint and increased coin rewards received from regular enemies. Your progress through space is displayed at the bottom of the screen and can be used to calculate when the next boss encounter will take place.

I have always found these fast-paced shoot everything and dodge everything games unbelievably difficult, mainly because there is so much going on at once. But Spaceborn manages to keep the extreme difficulty without the complexity by simplifying the controls into dodge only input. By dragging your finger around the screen you can navigate your ship in and out of enemy formations and meteorites whilst the ship fires automatically with surprisingly good accuracy. I personally feel that this makes the game very enjoyable as you can much more easily watch out for hazards without being distracted by having to target your enemies. However, shooting can still be controlled to some extent by moving closer to an enemy you wish to target as the automatic fire will target who is nearest.

1_1

The graphics are – like everything Spaceborn – simple, but nicely polished. The ships are all displayed in 3D and have nice subtle rotations when moving around or taking damage. The boss battles end in a cinematic spin of the camera around the exploding giants. The backgrounds are also quite beautiful and often make use of bright colours of all varieties in the form of misty particles and far away planets.

Spaceborn surely is a simple game of upgrade and survive as long as possible, but it controls beautifully and keeps you on the edge of your seat so much that you want to play again and again. Reaching a new boss is exciting and very daunting, but knowing you stand little chance of success only adds to the experience. It isn’t going to break any records but Spaceborn is a lovely little game that makes good use of the platforms touch screen without a mass of UI or virtual buttons to clutter it as so many iOS games do. If you like a challenging arcade game with simple yet addictive gameplay, then Spaceborn is for you.

7 out of 10