You just can’t put a great shooter down, so it is with great regret that my time with Solar Wings on iOS was relatively short. On the iPad Solar Wings sits awkwardly on the bottom half of the screen, and the touch positions are all out of context to where they should be. It does look correct on an iPhone though, and though the game is slightly broken on the iPad, it is playable enough for you to realise what a dire game this is.
If you’ve ever played Asteroids, or even Geometry Wars, then you’ll get the idea of this game. Your left thumb controls the direction you move, while the right rotates your space ship. You can also of course fire, and depending on what enemies you have destroyed, and which items you pick up, you unleash a volley of bullets that varies in size. In the centre of the bottom of the screen is another rather large button, which when pressed activates your shields, pretty handy, but I could never seem to press the thing quick enough to make a difference to the outcome of the game… death by a variety of badly placed graphics.
This game is a bullet-hell nightmare, with enemies firing at you from all over the screen, while you try and avoid numerous incoming missiles, enemy craft and floating objects of various descriptions. What’s more, to make the game even harder, you have to be quite accurate on the virtual direction pads, meaning you will die more times than you ever thought possible in a short game. Even for a lover of the shoot-em-up genre like myself, I found the game unforgiving and lacking that fun factor.
From the outset though, the game does seem to be promising. There is a nice little title screen, giving you the option to play arcade or continuous modes, plus an options menu which just gives you control over the most basic features. Graphically, the game boasts hand-drawn graphics, numerous levels of play and three playable characters (who all seem to play identically). Sadly, as mentioned in the opening paragraphs, once you start to play the game you realise that it is in no-way fun!
Solar Wings is a cheap iOS title, but even at the cheap price-point it has been given, there is nothing I can think of that can be said to recommend it. Yes, its cheap, but the content is sadly lacking, the game is broken on an iPad, the games graphics while hand drawn are sometimes drawn at strange view-points which makes the game even harder, the sound is average at best and it’s just damn-right infuriating to play.
Overall, give Solar Wings a miss unless you are desperate for something to play very quickly and very cheaply. My hope is that in the future they try and fix it’s faults, but no doubt that would mean re-writing the entire code and coming up with a whole new game.