03rd Jun2012

‘Raiden SkyForce Ace’ Review (Android)

by Phil Wheat

RAIDEN Sky Force Ace

I’ve played plenty of games on my iPhone and iPad, but one genre that has always seemed lacking on Apple’s iOS platform is the bullet-hell shooter. So imagine my surprise when browsing the Android Marketplace, now known as Google Play apparently, on our HTC One V review handset (review coming soon) and I found a prime example of one of my favourite genres: Raiden SkyForce Ace from distributors LeTang Inc and developers Joymeng.

Taking not only its name but its inspiration from the classic Raiden video game series from Tecmo, Raiden SkyForce Ace is a bullet hell top down shooter that, depite not being an official part of the series, has a lot in common with the classic franchise, copying as it does the completely insane amount of bullets on screen at any one time and the need to keep an eye on the enemy fire rather than the enemies themselves! One thing in the game that does differ from other bullet hell shooters is the use of shields – the gems which the enemy space ships leave behind can be collected and “redeemed” for upgrades including a rather substantial shield; and whilst it is possible to survive the game without a shield, you will find it invaluable when it comes to the big end-of-level boss battles.

Speaking of levels, the level design in Raiden SkyForce Ace is pretty simplistic – the early part of the level features easily defeated enemies, followed by some larger mid-level “bosses”, then more smaller enemies, followed by a large and much harder to defeat final boss.

Raiden SkyForce Ace is a great retro-feeling shooter and definitely satiated my need to play a bullet hell shooter, however it is not without its faults. First and foremost is the positioning of the upgrade button, which is placed at the top right of the screen meaning you have to completely remove you fingers from controlling your ship to press it! For bullet hell novices it will no-doubt be a substantial flaw. But for the rest of us? I never used the upgrade once in my entire experience playing the game…

The other faults are, thankfully, much less serious. For one the game is seriously short – at two hours max, Radien SkyForce Ace isn’t going to offer long-term gameplay, but this is the type of game you’ll keep coming back to for quick blasts (pardon the pun) over and over again. The other “fault”? Well that’s down to the developers and distributors… Yes, this game was originally made for the Chinese market (it is a knock-off of Raiden after all) and so it features some ridiculously badly translated English text in the style of “All your bases are belong to us” fame!

A hardcore bullet-hell shooter for hardcore bullet-hell shooter fans, Raiden SkyForce Ace is available via Google Play right now. And best of all, for free.

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