Platform: PSP Minis
To all PSP Minis developers: more simple games like this please. At £1.99 this is ideal for a quick blast. This shoot 'em up title has you controlling an Apache helicopter for 99 levels of traditional side-scrolling shooting. It's simple, fun, and it shares a similar art style to the Metal Slug games. What more could you ask for at £1.99?
The controls are responsive and the helicopter feels nippy but weighty as it tilts forwards and backwards with momentum allowing you to fire upwards or downwards sometimes without having to move up and down yourself, handy for staying in one piece under a torrent of missile fire. Enemies go down very easily and you can take quite a lot of damage as you have a health bar rather than having to cower under a one-hit-kill policy. It's a balance we can all enjoy.
You start with default machine guns that get an extra shot or two after a handful of levels. Small missiles are fired at the same time if you have them in stock. Extra weapons, 1up lives and health packs can be found parachuting pack down to earth from destroyed enemies. Large rockets, lasers, bombs are all useful in their own way. The only dud weapon is the nuke, that works well for a quick screen clearing, but is useless for boss fights.
Enemies vary from fighter jets, choppers and solo-troop pods in the sky, and tanks, turrets and speed boats below. Things start off easily enough, but by level 8, there are swarms of enemies hurling bullets and missiles at your chubby chopper.
There are two bosses that are featured in every level I managed to get up to (good luck getting to 99). A halfway one that is a huge bomber that dominates the top of the screen and a similar helicopter to yours at the end of each level. The bomber is simple enough as it's the smaller enemies that are more of a nuisance. The boss helicopter though is a wily foe as he gains more weaponry with each level. It can get a little tactical as you try and outmanoeuvre each other.
While the enemies increase in numbers throughout and the boss helicopter gets meaner, you'll have seen pretty much everything the game has to offer after about ten minutes with it as everything repeats on an incrementally tougher scale than before.
The levels take place over tropical islands, tropical seas, wintry woods and deserts, again on a loop, with the only variation being boats on the water levels. Graphically the game is simple yet pleasing to the eye, with a smooth frame-rate even when the screen starts to fill up. It's also one of the few minis that looks good when played through your PS3 on the TV instead. And the PS3 pad beats using the PSP any day of the week.
This is a game that most people are probably never going to complete, the challenge is in seeing what top score you can get and how many of the levels you can blitz through. Just enjoy it while it lasts.
Looks good, even on the PS3
Plays a solid shoot-'em-up game
£1.99 for 99 levels
Too tough, too early to get through most of the levels
The Short Version: An enjoyable shoot-'em-up title for the minis range. Let down only by it's recycling of levels and enemies.