Ballistic SE ($1.99) by Radiangames is another arena-style dual stick shooter in the vein of Geometry Wars, but this one comes from the creators of Fireball SE, an ultra fun avoidance game, so I knew it was bound to be good before I even opened the app.
I was not disappointed. This is a dual stick shooter that is a lot of fun because it’s beginner friendly. With auto aim, you can play with just one hand on the screen. As with most dual stick shooters, movement is controlled on the left and aiming is done with the right stick, but auto aim eliminates the need to use the right stick at all.
Of course, more advanced players will want to use both sticks. The goal is to score as many points as possible, and while players are able to hang out in corners, auto shoot, and avoid enemies, that tactic isn’t going to score points, so moving around the arena is necessary.
In the game, you essentially play as a ball shooting other balls, which sounds simplistic, but that simplicity is the reason that the game is so much fun.
Ballistic SE has two modes. In wave mode, there are endless waves of enemies to destroy, and in challenge mode, players are given a series of categories, including Pursuit, Division, Entropy, Firepower, and Focus to get high scores in.
In both modes there are ship enhancements that will make the game different during every play through. Enhancements include upgrades like Rapid Fire, which increases weapon firing rate, Homing Shots, which turns artillery into enemy-seeking bullets, and Quicken, which increases the speed of the ship. There are ten different enhancements in all, each of which can be upgraded twice.
While in the game, players will be able to grab extra lives and activate bombs, which explode on impact and destroy all enemies in the area. Heading towards these bombs is important, because enemies often swarm the ship and it’s a quick way to clear a path.
In the options menu, players can configure controls to their exact specifications, moving and adjusting the location of the joysticks and changing the sensitivity. The game also features both Game Center integration with achievements and iCloud syncing, so you can play on multiple devices.
The graphics are bright, colorful, and gorgeous on the new iPad, and the fast-paced music fits in perfectly with the non-stop action. Ballistic SE has excellent, well-tuned controls, and it’s definitely one of the better dual stick shooters that I’ve played on iOS.
My only complaint is that the challenge modes all feel similar; there’s not a lot of variation in gameplay. This is not true of wave mode, where each wave feels different from the last, so the challenges could be improved.
If you enjoy dual stick shooters, I’d highly recommend picking up Ballistic SE. It’s a great game that is more than worth the $1.99 purchase price.