There’s just something to be said about a developer that ‘gets it.’ What am I referring to, you ask? My reference is to when a developer truly understands the platform they’re developing for and perfectly optimises their game to fit what it has to offer. We’ve seen many an iOS developer shoehorn virtual D-Pads and control sticks into their games, with varied results. But Psyonix is a developer that’s carefully calculated the limitations and advantages of the platform and has designed its intense space combat shooter ARC Squadron in such a way that it is perfectly fitting for the touchscreen devices, by incorporating a simple, yet completely effective control scheme into play – strap yourself in, it blast off time!
Putting the game into motion finds us looking behind our ship in forward scrolling on-rails levels. Instantly noticeable is that the game looks absolutely stunning on a Retina-enabled iPad, making perfect use of what the Unreal Engine has to offer to the platform. Gameplay is all about shooting enemies in rapid succession to achieve score multipliers, as well as swiftly manoeuvring your ship to collect small, cleverly positioned, score block that come along throughout the levels in the hopes to achieve four stars for each level.
Once levels start getting a bit too tough, you’ll want to head back to the lower tiers with your stronger ship to maximize your scores for extra cash and land those four stars in the levels that they were previously unreachable in – netting Game Center achievements along the way. This brings replay value in such a way that makes it not only necessary, but fun. Not to mention that there’s also loads of additional, minigame styled levels that pack on the challenge too, by tasking you with numerous things like not missing a single enemy, target or cube in levels that are constantly increasing in speed, among others. Last but not least are the awesome boss fights. These high intensity battles have us fighting all sorts of fully armed mechanised space dwelling robots that you definitely want to be prepared for before provoking.