ZiGGURAT iPad Review

Last stand. Must have been a hell of a fight.

Bad news. Hordes of aliens have decimated much of the human race. For some unexplainable reason, you sought refuge atop a pyramid. Armed with a powerful laser rifle, you prepare to live out your final moments destroying these robotic freaks with the idea being, "If I'm going to hell, I'm taking these bastards with me."

That's the premise behind the oddly titled ZiGGURAT (step pyramid), a wonderful retro throwback to the 16-bit glory days that immediately brings to mind Treasure's Genesis classic, Gunstar Heroes, both in old school graphics and thunderous explosions.

You don't wander through levels platform hopping. Instead, enemies attack from both sides of the screen, and it's your job to keep the character alive as long as possible, slaughtering aliens before the hero's eventual demise. The more creatures die, the higher the score. Then you climb the leaderboards to brag of this epic achievement.

That said, the controls take some getting used to. The default controls require sliding a finger horizontally along the bottom of the screen to aim the laser rifle from right to left and most angles in between (you cannot fire straight down). There's a trajectory guide designed to help you, but we suggest leaving it off, since it negatively affected our performance. As for the slingshot control type, leave it be. That sort of thing is for the birds. Angry ones.

What's especially cool about ZiGGURAT is the way the laser rifle's energy rises and falls. The key to success involves waiting for groups of robots to collect in one area and then unleashing a high-powered energy ball that causes a chain reaction, resulting in multiple deaths. The energy pulses before releasing a finger, which automatically communicates the strength of the shot. Remove your finger too early, and a tiny green ball travels a few feet away. Hold and release at just the right moment, and that sucker flies.

Meanwhile, the sun rises and sets, giving way to the moon. If anything, it serves as a mark of progress, letting you know how far you've gone, and whether the "you know what's" about to hit the fan.

Die (you will), and the hero emits a satisfying scream. Sometimes, we can't help but throw our heads back and lip sync the sound.

As for bad guys, the robots come in various sizes and colors. The developers didn't create a plethora of types, but the handful that exist become, well, quite a handful.

Factor in addictive chiptunes music and those aforementioned graphics, and ZiGGURAT will quickly become a guilty pleasure, one that is well worth your time and dollar.

Review code provided by Freshuu Inc.

Download ZiGGURAT

What's Hot: Graphics remind us of Gunstar Heroes, furious laser firing action, catchy retro music, effective slide controls, leaderboards, universal support, $0.99.

What's Not: Slingshot Mode.