Astro Duel ($1.99) by Rusty Moyher is a retro-themed space arcade game that, as our own Joe White puts it, “brings the best of retro gaming to iOS,” and I couldn’t agree more. If you’re down for a fun multiplayer arcade game to make a hit out of family or friend events, Astro Duel can definitely be fulfilling.
My favorite aspect of Astro Duel is that the multiplayer component is played in person, so it’s a lot more social than facing a random opponent online. With the ability to accommodate up to four players, one iPad can entertain a lot of people with this game. Let’s look at how it works, shall we?
You have two options for controls in Astro Duel: the iPad’s screen for up to two players, or Made for iPhone (MFi) gamepads. The cool part about the gamepads option is that you can download the free Joypad Game Controller app from the App Store to turn up to four iPhones into controllers.
In Astro Duel, the object of the game is simple. As you and your opponents have ships duelling in one of 10 dynamic arenas included in the game, you must find, shoot, and kill your opponents. That’s it. The last one standing is, of course, victorious.
The controls themselves will depend on which type of controller you’re using. If you decide to go with two players on the iPad’s screen, the controls will be located in each corner, with two corners being provided per player. On the left, there are buttons for turning your ship left or right, and on the right, you’ll find that controls for blasting forward and shooting are also accessible. They are kind of awkward at first because of how they’re just triangular buttons in each corner, but they are super responsive.
I also had no problems using the Joypad controller on my iPhone. I experienced an ever-so-slight delay at times, but that could just be my Wi-Fi network connection, since that’s how the app connects to the iPad. I was right beside my router while testing, but regardless, wireless networks are never perfect. Still, my experience using the Joypad controller with Astro Duel was fairly close to being flawless.
Although I was only able to try the game with one other person, I can’t wait to get myself and three other friends in an intense battle in Astro Duel. The game’s fluid graphics and precise responsiveness allow it to be effortlessly played, making it feel like a true retro-themed hit for iOS. It’s games like these that make the iPad shine for what it is.