Overview

AbstractWar is a dual stick shooter that is channeling Geometry Wars, and is infused with tons of particle effects. Dual Stick is the main control, but the game goes beyond that giving you four control methods which you will have to use in the campaign mode. The game is very similar to Critical Wave in looks, but quite different in gameplay. Is it worth it? Let’s find out.

Features

A campaign mode, and survival mode is included with the survival mode giving you the option to choose any of the four control methods. Campaign mode, on the other hand, gives you 24 levels with eight in each of the four difficulties. There are four control method/gameplay modes beginning with normal dual stick controls.

The next mode is normal mode, but with mono controls meaning you control direction, and fire with one control. Then there is cruces mode where the enemies only move in horizontal and vertical lines. Finally, pacifist mode has you tilt around detonating explosives similar to Tilt To Live.

In campaign mode one level you will have to use mono controls, and then the next needing dual followed by pacifist mode. Your ship fires automatically and there are 10 different types of geometric enemies to face. Bluetooth multiplayer is included allowing up to three players in cooperative mode. You can change the camera angle with four different options.

The Good

When you first launch AbstractWar you’re instantly blown away by all of the visual eye candy the game is bursting at the seams with. It’s simply amazing all of the glowing objects on screen that burst into particles on destruction, and leave a huge neon glow in their wake. There’s no other way to put it other than stating it is simply stunning, and may be the best looking game on the iPhone.

As beautiful as the graphics are, they are out done by the gameplay. The greatest aspect is the campaign mode which has you survive different enemy groups for a predefined amount of time with limited lives. As you progress there are more and tougher enemies requiring you to survive longer which in turn increases the difficulty scale nicely.

At first it seems awkward not getting to choose the controls you want, but as you progress you see how ingenious it is, needing to change control methods from level to level. A level plays completely different with the different control modes, and you need to be skilled at all four to get through the campaign. It’s also set up so you’ll want to complete each campaign level no matter how many retires you do.

The survival mode is equally enjoyable in its own right. You can pick the one of the four control modes that is your favorite or try survival with all four as they each present a different challenge. In total this game gives you a ton of replayability, and OpenFeint is included also, with online high scores for each of the four modes as well as achievements.

You’ve used dual stick controls so you know what you’re getting, but mono controls are super difficult as you fire in the same direction as movement. Then the cruces mode is tricky to maneuver through the lines of enemies, and be careful not to move too much. Finally the pacifist mode plays like a basic tilt to live with just the explosion power-up, and that’s a nice change of pace.

Tons of power-ups are included which you will just be anticipating to see pop up no matter what mode you’re in. You can get bullets that bounce off the wall, massive bombs destroying every enemy on screen, or even a companion ship. They are simply essential for survival for prolonged amounts of time.

The Bad

The main concern is that the game is basically a space shooter that we’ve seen before. It’s always the same thing with a ton of enemies on screen that you need to blast away. The campaign mode while a little unique is basically mini survival games.

Another slight problem is that the amount of visual effects is so glaring, that you can lose enemies. When you destroy multiple enemies there are very bright glowing neon colors, and other ships can sneak in through that colored haze to get you.

There is no background music, limiting you to just various basic sounds effects from each destroyed ship. The multiplayer is bluetooth only which is somewhat disappointing for those that have older gen devices.

The Verdict

AbstractWar is a deluxe dual stick space shooter that has an enjoyable campaign and survival mode. The visual are simply amazing, and there is so much to do in the game that will have you keep coming back to it again and again. The game though is somewhat repetitive with the same idea of blasting away huge numbers of enemies no matter what mode you use.

For only $0.99 AbstractWar is a definite should buy, but does have some shortcomings to keep it from being more highly recommended.

***See our gameplay video to see all of the visual goodness better than the screenshots could show. To Win one of 10 copies, that’s right 10 different winners, just leave a relevant comment or Retweet this post. Contest ends tomorrow March 27th at 11:59 PM PST. US itunes only, and please leave a valid e-mail address and/or follow us on twitter so we can send you a code. Good Luck!