Devastator ($1.99) by Radiangames is the latest title from the popular dual-stick shooter game developer. If you enjoyed games like JoyJoy, Inferno 2, Super Crossfighter, and Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Evolved, then you may like Devastator.
Ever since I first discovered Geometry Wars many years ago, I fell in love with the dual-stick shooter genre. There’s just something about flying around and blasting things into oblivion with colorful lasers and explosions — I mean, who doesn’t love this? Since then, I’ve discovered Radiangames and their many dual-stick shooter games on iOS, and they became one of my favorite iOS game developers. So whenever they come out with a new game, it’s not surprising that I get a bit excited. Naturally, I just had to check out Devastator, but I’m a bit let down with this one compared to their other titles.
The visuals in Devastator follow in the footsteps of their other releases, as it sports a retro arcade style that will hit you with a sense of nostalgia if you grew up with these types of games. The game also makes use of bright and vivid neon colors for your ship and enemies, though I thought that the dark colors in the background can be a bit hard to tell apart, especially when there are walls and other obstacles in your way. The textures and particle effects are fantastic, though there are options to turn them down if you aren’t a fan. Animations are smooth and fluid, with no lag on my iPhone 6, and the electronic soundtrack is a treat for the ears.
There are three different game modes in Devastator: Practice, Hardcore, and Elite. Practice features unlimited lives, no score, and no destroyers in your arsenal. Hardcare is the main mode that you’ll probably spend the most time in, and it has five lives, unlimited continues, and you get an extra life for every 100,000 points. Elite mode is unlocked only when you beat Hardcore, and it will only give you three lives, no continues, and even faster gameplay. Regardless of the mode you choose, though, the gameplay remains the same: blast your way through 50 waves of 12 different enemy types and make sure that you are the only survivor on the field.
The controls are what you’d expect from a dual-stick shooter, featuring a virtual joystick for movement in the bottom left and another joystick on the right side for aiming and shooting. Adjacent to the aiming joystick is a button that activates your super ability, which can nuke the immediate area around you, but not the entire battlefield. So it is good for emergencies, but don’t rely on it. It also needs to be refilled again once it is used, so be careful.
While the controls work out okay, I think they can be improved, since they don’t feel as good as other titles from Radiangames. The virtual joysticks do not follow your thumbs around, so you have to watch your thumb placement if you care about being accurate. The only options I found were for adjusting the sensitivity, flipping controls, which side the ability button is on, and auto-fire. Honestly, though, I think there should be an option for having the sticks move around to where your thumbs end up, because with games like these, I don’t keep my thumbs in the same place most of the time. If you have a MFi controller, the game could work out better for you since there is full support.
As you play and earn achievements, you will begin to unlock more abilities to help you out in a pinch. The game also has various power-ups that you can obtain while fighting to help you out, such as double damage, shields, and more. The game even has full Game Center integration with leaderboards and achievements, so there is a lot of replay value here.
While I like Devastator, the controls are throwing me off. They just don’t seem as responsive as their other games, and it makes the game a bit more difficult for me. Hopefully the controls get optimized in future updates (would love for the joysticks to not be in a fixed position). Regardless, the graphics are awesome, the music is fun, and the gameplay itself is pretty hard and challenging, so it should be a treat for any dual-stick arcade shooter fan, as long as you can get used to subpar controls.