Another day and another heavily saturated genre on the App Store gets a new game. Yes, Darkside is another twin stick shooter, but it's one that you should at least take the time to try.
The game's story focuses on Earth's space mining system being attacked by an alien force and, yes, you guessed it, it's your job to jump into a fully tooled up spacecraft and send them back to the planet they came from. None of this really matters, of course, but the it does mean you get a nice little intro when playing through the mission mode which sets the scene and gives you a little more motivation for beating back those alien forces.
So, by now you've probably looked at the screenshots and are thinking that Darkside looks an awful lot like Sony's Super Stardust. Darkside's roots go further back than this, though and the project was started way before the PS3 game took shape.
Not that the comparison is without merit. The games both play and look farily similar on the surface, with asteroids and aliens to cope with over a 3 dimensional rotating planet. With Darkside there's no worrying over which weapon to use, though, as every piece of firepower you could possibly need is usually just around the corner.
Destroying asteroids will often net you one of the many power-ups which enhance your weapons or a score bonus. In this it's really a modern take on the ancient Atari Asteroids template, but with some pretty smart visuals and extra bells and whistles thrown in. But once you pay to unlock the Mission modes there's far more to the game than the Arcade mode shows you.
Mission mode will give you a set of 100 missions, from simple time-based wave attacks to protecting bases and destroying a set number of alien forces. The variety of missions is good and adds a good balance to the game which should keep you coming back for more.
The single In App Payment also unlocks an endless mode which is just as good fun, if a little less cerebral. Game Center integration ensures that high scores can be challenged from around the world, giving it endless replayability.
Presentation is impressive with some great graphics, especially when playing on the iPad 3's larger screen. It's just a pity that a lot of the worlds are so small and tightly packed, the game could have done with a larger game area to play in. The background music is worth mentioning too, with a great tune which matches the futuristic action and some nicely placed spot effects that wouldn't sound out of place in an arcade.
Darkside has a lot of content and 3 game modes that offer several different ways to play. It's great for a quick dose of asteroid blasting and the mission mode provides a more structured take on the twin stick shooter.
- Sound: 8
- Graphics: 9
- Gameplay: 8
- Longevity: 7
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