Lightopus ($2.99) by Bulkypix is a casual arcade-style game filled with psychedelic neon microorganisms, where the player controls a phosphorescent creature that looks like it comes from depths of the ocean.
This creature, the Lightopus, is the last of its kind, tasked with venturing into the abyss to save the bulbies (bubble-shaped amoeba-like organisms), which are also infant lightopus. The Lightopus must gather them up while avoiding all kinds of nefarious enemies, and when he has enough, he can free them from the abyss and move on to rescue others.
The Lightopus is controlled by a finger on the screen, which is used to direct him into the bulbies. When touched, these flock around him, following on his tail. Enemies will chase down the Lightopus from every direction, but they can be destroyed with his whip-like tentacles or with the swarming bulbies. Sharp turns and frantic movements become necessary to avoid and destroy the never-ending flood of enemies.
In each area, a certain number of bulbies must be gathered before the Lightopus can zoom out of the abyss into safety, and as he gathers more and more, he will swim faster. There are also three colored stars to collect in each level, and when he collects eight of a single color, Lightopus can enter the enemy hive to exact revenge on their young.
A variety of power ups are scattered throughout each level, which will help Lightopus keep enemies at bay. There’s a shield that gives him an extra layer of protection, a tail enhancement that makes his tentacles even more deadly, and a shockwave that scatters enemies every which way.
Some enemies are more powerful than others, and will require more hits to defeat. For example, there are huge boss enemies that will take a lot of strategy and maneuvering to destroy.
I loved the mesmerizing neon graphics and the bright colors, but I did have a bit of an issue with the controls on my iPhone. Dragging Lightopus along with a finger meant that I often couldn’t see the screen very well, and while there is a joystick control, it’s not quite as intuitive to use. I suspect this is a game that plays a lot better on an iPad than an iPhone.
My slight frustration with the controls did little to spoil the gameplay experience, and I don’t hesitate to recommend this game to players who are looking for a casual combat-based game. With its simple but challenging gameplay and impressive look, Lightopus is worth downloading.