Star Warfare: Alien Invasion iPad Review

Star Warfare: Alien Invasion has the makings of a great game, but there's still a long way to go. Freyr Games' arena style shooter plops you on planet UBW-594244, charged with laying waste to hundreds of aliens across 30 single player levels. In addition, you have the option of teaming with three other warriors via co-op, but there's a catch.

Each stage challenges you to basically outlast waves of ugly critters or die trying, picking up gold along the way that'll come in handy at the game's shop, where you can purchase all manner of items, from 26 different weapons with up to eight upgrades (shotguns, grenade launchers, a futuristic bow) to various pieces of armor, helmets and gloves.

There's little story to speak of, but that's fine, since blasting enemies takes center stage. Admittedly, the game's fun in short bursts. Bad guys appear from everywhere (in caves, from beneath the ground), and the dual stick controls work quite well, as you maneuver the little guy with the left stick, fire with the right and guide the camera by dragging a finger across the screen; we prefer to use the bottom right corner.

Repetition sets in once you realize that A.) it takes a ton of gold to acquire the best weapons and gear, B.) that the developers force you to buy ammo, lest you run out during a game with none to pick up, and C.) the game's precious material, Mithril, is nearly impossible to obtain without spending real world cash via in-app purchase.

Not only that, but multiplayer is primarily a boss battle affair, bosses that don't appear in the single player game; you can also team up to enjoy previously unlocked stages. The game lets you hop into a boss fight solo, but we don't advise doing this until you have the tools to get the job done.

Unfortunately, we've had trouble locating people to join matches. The developer says the game supports both Wi-Fi and 3G, but so far, no one's online.

To that end, where's competitive multiplayer? We'd love to square off against random players from around the world. It's a shame this didn't make the cut.

Don't get us wrong. Star Warfare has a cool upside, and if all you need are ten minutes per sitting, the game more than delivers, but it was obvious from the start that Freyr has something special here, but needs more time to make it great. For now, it's little more than a decent $0.99 shooter.

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad.Requires iOS 3.1.3 or later.

Download Star Warfare: Alien Invasion

What's Hot: Enjoyable dual stick shooting, cool variety of enemies, boss battles in co-op mode, 26 different weapons, universal, Game Center, $0.99.

What's Not: No competitive multiplayer, Mithril is nearly impossible to acquire naturally, running out of ammo and having to buy more, you cannot switch weapons while in combat, no bosses in single player.

3/5