Trigonarium ($1.99) by Kimmo Lahtinen is a challenging dual-stick shooter that is packed with a lot of action and colorful explosions. If you’re in the mood for some retro arcade shooter fun this weekend, then Trigonarium could be a great addition to your collection. It’s similar to other games out there like Geometry Wars and JoyJoy.
When it comes to mobile games, arcade shooters are up there in my favorite genres to play when I’m on-the-go, especially after I first discovered Geometry Wars. There’s just something about these fast-paced dual-stick shooters that keeps me entertained for hours on end, and I just can’t get enough of them. It’s been a while since a good one came out on the App Store lately, so I was eager to give Trigonarium a try when I saw it on the store this week.
The graphics in Trigonarium are like a mix of modern and retro arcade games, which is not a bad thing. Considering the fact that most arcade games go for the pixelated style, this is a nice change of pace. In fact, Trigonarium reminds me a bit of the visual style of Geometry Wars, but that’s probably because of the geometric enemies that you’re gunning down. The colors are bright and vibrant, which contrast nicely with the black background of the closed-off battlefield area. The game runs smoothly at 60 fps, so I had zero issues with choppiness during my play testing. The electronic soundtrack is upbeat and catchy, and is the perfect background music to listen to while you blow things up.
Trigonarium comes with two different game modes: single player and local co-op. Both feature Arcade, Single Level, and Challenge. The Arcade mode is classic and standard, having players battle through infinite waves of enemies and boss battles that only get harder over time, and the battlefield morphs every so often. Single Level features three different level layouts that you can choose from, though you start out with one and must unlock the other two as you play. Challenge features Quick Attack and Chase modes, with the latter spawning enemies on and behind you as you move around.
The controls in Trigonarium are simple and intuitive, and should be no surprise for anyone who has played these types of games before. In the bottom left corner is a digital joystick for controlling your ship’s movement, while the bottom right has a second joystick for shooting. Another option in the game is the Boost feature, which you can activate by doing a quick lift and press with your finger in the bottom right. I didn’t like the control scheme for the boost, as it is cumbersome to activate and when I did get it to work, my aim was always off. I think the boost controls need better optimization, but the movement and shooting controls are fine.
The one issue I have with Trigonarium is what seems to be wasted space. The actual battle arena is centered on the screen, and it starts out pretty small but does get slightly bigger as it transforms over time. The background is colorful and pretty, but I honestly would have preferred to have the actual gameplay take up the full screen, or at least much more of it. The text when I picked up power-up items is just way too small because of this, even though I was playing the game on my iPhone 6. I really would like to see better use of the screen space for actual gameplay in a future update.
Like other arcade shooters, there is high replay value in Trigonarium due to the fact that there is full Game Center support for leaderboards and achievements. There is a leaderboard for each game mode in single and co-op, and the achievements will take some time to acquire due to the difficulty of the game — this is not a casual arcade shooter, it is a real challenge.
As a fan of challenging dual-stick shooter games, I’m enjoying Trigonarium for what it’s worth. The visuals are a nice mix of contemporary and classic, the music is catchy, the controls are simple, and the gameplay is a test of skill. I just want to see better control implementation for the boost feature, and less wasted space. With large screen devices like the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, a game should not be confined to a small, central area on the screen.
I still recommend checking out Trigonarium if you’re a fan of dual-stick shooter arcade games. You can find Trigonarium on the App Store as a universal download for $1.99.