Missileman ($2.99) by Shinnosuke Ohashi is a fast-paced vertical shooter arcade game that will keep you entertained in your downtime. If you love stylistic games and explosive missile action, then Missileman is the game for you. If you liked games like Super Mole Escape and Downwell, then Missileman will be right up your alley.
With all of the news and current events these days, I end up getting stressed out way too much lately. I find the best remedy for this is to just sit back and relax with some video games, regardless of platform. While a lot of my gaming time is done on my PlayStation 4 these days, I still spend some time with iOS games every now and then. For those moments when I just want something quick, I like arcade games because they usually offer up bite-size play sessions and I can fit in a few rounds while waiting around somewhere. When I saw Missileman on the App Store over the weekend, I was intrigued by the style and hey, how can I resist missiles and blowing things up? So naturally I had to check it out for myself, and needless to say, I’m not disappointed.
Visually, Missileman is downright beautiful. The game is rendered in 2-D with gorgeous and vibrant backgrounds that are nice to look at, though it’s hard to admire due to the fast and frenetic nature of the game. Everything in the foreground appears shiny and is incredibly detailed and textured. The colors range from soft pastel-like backdrops to more muted tones, but the explosions and lasers are as bright as ever. Animations are buttery smooth and fluid, so I experienced no lag on my iPhone 7. The soundtrack is also rather quirky and charming, adding to the frantic mood of Missileman. And to top everything off, the sound effects are fun and humorous. Overall, I think the developer did a fantastic job with Missileman’s visuals and audio.
There’s only one game mode in Missileman, and 16 stages to shoot and blast your way through. The game is also a roguelike, so once you die, you’ll have to start over from the first stage and work your way up again — the upgrades you’ve made are lost. While not everyone is a fan of the roguelike style, it is definitely a challenge and the feeling of getting through several difficult stages and beating your previous record is rather satisfying. The goal in Missileman is simple: fly on a missile and use the missiles to blast your foes out of the sky and see how far you can get. While it sounds easy enough, the game proves to be rather hard once everything is literally being thrown at you, so it’s a true test of skill.
Controls in Missileman are straightforward and intuitive, as everything is optimized for touch screens. Your character, a man on a missile, will be flying upwards automatically, so you don’t have to worry about the vertical movement too much. The game just requires use of two thumbs: the first thumb will let you move the missile man anywhere on the screen by dragging your finger around, and a tap with the second fires off a missile straight ahead. You need a combination of movement and attacks in order to make your way through the skies, as you need to avoid the scrolling walls and robotic foes. It does take a bit of practice to get used to it, but it feels natural once you do. Quickly getting the hang of the controls is key to survival, since you will want to make sure to keep your movement while also being able to see incoming enemies and walls whizzing by.
The game contains 16 stages, so it’s not completely infinite as you may imagine. Once you clear the threshold for an area, chances are you’ve leveled up your missile man, so you get skill points to spend between three attributes: Shot, Bonus Missile, or Shield. The more points you have in one attribute, the better it gets and makes your life easier. But keep in mind that once you lose all of your hearts by taking hits, you die and lose your progress in skill upgrades.
I’ve only spent a little bit of time with Missileman so far, but I’m enjoying it for what it’s worth right now. I do see where the game can be a bit repetitive since there aren’t multiple game modes and you have to start over from the beginning each time you die. There also aren’t any extras to unlock, so there’s not too much replay value aside from trying to beat your previous score. Hopefully the developer can consider adding some variety to the game in a future update to keep players interested. Otherwise, the game is fantastic with the unique visual style, awesome music, intuitive controls, and challenging gameplay.
I recommend giving Missileman a try if you’re in the mood for a fast-paced vertical shooter arcade game to kill some downtime with. You can find Missileman on the App Store as a universal download for your iPhone and iPad for just $2.99.