Old school style arcade shooter apps get their roots from side-scrolling shoot-em up games like R-Type. Sector Strike free, for the Android and the iPhone, is one such app that has plenty of shoot-em up action gameplay. But, the ship upgrades and environments are sub par. I stumbled across this game on Google Play as a trending app a few days ago, but it is not having the same impact on the iTunes App Store where it is also available.
Jumping in with high hopes, I found the controls to be weird and very touchy. Since there is only a touch control setup I quickly got used to this except at times when my fat finger hid my ship. The gameplay is fairly good, left-to-right and hold-to-move while your ship auto shoots at the flying drone enemies as they scream by in different formations. There are additional tougher enemies, but if you’re looking for changing environments and much different enemies, then this is not your game. This arcade shooter is closer to the “old school” arcade shooter games where the game board stayed the same and the levels just got harder. This game features the same space-type environment, providing a little subtle color change as you level up, and staying consistent with the old school arcade shooter — the levels just get more challenging. There are more bullets, as well as faster and tricker formations of drones.
The upgrades are not really explained and are a little confusing at first. There are 4 main weapon/defensive systems, as well as additional upgrades/consumables. The upgrade process is much more difficult than it should be. There are “creds” and “energy cubes” for in app currency, but little explanation about this other than the Google Checkout destination when you don’t have enough of either to purchase an upgrade. Once you figure out what the currency model is, you will find that you earn “creds” in an unequal ratio to the increased game difficulty, which means you will have to either play very well, over and over again or spend some cash to earn enough creds to upgrade weapons and unlock new ones. On a side note, during gameplay you collect little bright glowing items that look like small Suns, but I have not figured out what these do, it’s very weird and there’s no explanation inside the app to let you know.
The inside of the game is unimpressive, but I feel it is meant to be that way. It resembles aspects of old arcade 2D shooter games, but with 3D graphics and is playable on your iPhone or Android, which is pretty cool. My recommendation is to play this game for free because I spent $1.99 and only got 1,000 creds, which gave me a whopping 4 total upgrades. This is not very reasonable since each weapon needs to be upgraded 3 or 4 times before you can move to the next weapon system. Sector Strike is a well done arcade shooter for the iPhone and Android but lacks a little zest, however, I feel the designers behind the game meant for the overall feel to be very “retro arcade shoot-em up” in appearance, with a tad of a present-day feel.
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