TriBlaster ($0.99) by Bulkypix and OE Fun is a modern rendition of the classical Tempest game that was popular back in ’80s arcades. If you enjoy shooters, specifically of the tube shooter variety, then you will get a kick out of TriBlaster.
Ah, good old Tempest. I remember spending hours each day playing that on my old computer when I was younger — great memories. It was one of my favorite classic arcade games to play, because I loved the bright, neon colors and the intense action. So when I saw that BulkyPix was publishing TriBlaster last week, I was intrigued from the start. Could this be my next Tempest addiction? The answer: definitely.
The visuals in TriBlaster are completely done in retro arcade style, featuring a lot of straight, neon lines that form an abstract “tube,” along with plenty of 3-D geometrical shapes that move about. The game features smooth animations of up to 60 fps on newer devices — I did not experience any kind of lag whatsoever on my iPhone 5s. The soundtrack is also a nice homage to the original, and if you like vintage game music like chiptunes, then you will love what you hear in TriBlaster. Plus, the “pew pew” sound effects are fun and quirky, just as you would expect from a game like this.
The game is broken down into levels, with about 100 to go through, but in typical arcade fashion, you aren’t going to be able to pick-and-choose where to start from. Each game you play will have you starting from level one, and you’ll need to work your way up, surviving each level as you go. You only get so many lives, which are indicated in the top right corner, so when you’re out, you’re out and the game ends. If you do well enough, then maybe you can earn some extra lives during your game, but you’re going to need to play carefully — don’t just go Zerging everything, as this can lead to death early on.
The controls in the game are incredibly simple, requiring players to only move their finger left or right to move in that direction along the tube. As you move, you will fire your gun automatically, so you don’t need to worry about manually attacking. In case of emergencies, such as when an enemy makes it to the end of the tube, you can tap on the “jump” button to jump off of the tube for a brief moment and attack it without getting hurt. You also have access to an all-powerful laser beam that can be activated with a tap of the “beam” button, but you need to have enough energy to use it. To refill your beam energy, just collect the green objects that appear on the tube.
When you start, you will find simple enemies that won’t be much of a challenge to take down. However, the further along you get, you’ll find more advanced enemies that have different tactics to bring you down. You’ll need to learn their weaknesses and avoid their hits at the same time. The tougher the enemy, the more points you will earn for defeating it.
As I mentioned, there are about 100 levels in the game. Of course, if you reach a certain point (checkpoints), you will have the option to choose where you want to start a new game from. These checkpoints are available in intervals of 25 levels, so you will be able to start from 25, 50, or 75 once you reach them.
Just like other arcade style games, TriBlaster is insanely fun, addictive, and it can be quite fun to compete with friends. There is full Game Center integration for both global and local leaderboards, and there are a total of 19 achievements to obtain. Replay value is quite high with TriBlaster, not only because you won’t be able to stop playing, but you’ll also feel like boasting to your friends just like the good old days. And the best thing is the fact that there are no in-app purchases — more games need to do this again.
As a big Tempest fan from back in the day, I’m incredibly happy to have TriBlaster on my iPhone. It’s a nice tribute to the classic game, and this version is just as fun and challenging. The only thing I do wish to see is alternate controls, because while the sliding thing works, sometimes I felt it wasn’t as responsive as much as it could be. Perhaps having buttons for movement would be a good option.
If you enjoyed Tempest in your childhood, or enjoy classic arcade shooters, then you need to check out TriBlaster. You can grab it on the App Store as a universal download for $0.99.