Captain Antarctica ($0.99) by FDG Entertainment is a vertical swimmer, which seems to be an emerging genre. Typically, when you think of an endless vertical game, you think of the flyers and climbers like Cordy Sky or Nuts.
This game is similar to those in that it progresses vertically, but instead of climbing, jumping, or flying, you’ll be swimming downstream avoiding obstacles and gobbling up fish for boosts. It shares quite a few similarities with Chasing Yello, a vertical swimmer released last week.
As the story goes, one penguin’s wife and children have been kidnapped, inspiring him to team up with a crazy inventor and morph into Captain Antarctica, equipped with a fish-powered jet scuba suit.
Captain Antarctica continually swims forward, and it’s your job to steer him away from enemies and into fish using tilt motion controls. The controls are solid and easy to use, so you shouldn’t have any problems with even the tightest of maneuvers.
In addition to avoiding obstacles like spiky sea urchin and penguin-hungry fish, you’ll also need to defeat bomb dropping bosses. To gain speed and power, Captain Antarctica needs as many fish as possible, because there’s a booster gauge on the right side of the screen that causes him to go into turbo mode when it’s full.
Keeping up with turbo mode can be a challenge, but it’s a lot of fun to try. You earn coins as you play, and those coins are used to purchase new rockets and power ups in the app. There are speed boosts and magnets that aid in the collection of fish, as well as upgrades like additional health.
There are six unique levels, and as you progress, the game introduces fun elements like darkness (you’ll need a flashlight) and other tough obstacles. There are also plenty of tough boss fights and a lot of goals to complete and achievements to earn.
I should also mention the graphics, which look great. The characters are well designed and the levels are all sufficiently varied to keep gameplay interesting.
My only complaint is that Captain Antarctica is not universal. You’ll have to shell out $0.99 for the iPhone version and another $2.99 if you want to play it on the iPad, as is the case with most FDG games, like Expand It and Beyond Ynth.