Assault Squadron Review: A Spaceflight to Remember

Shooters have had a bit of a renaissance with the birth of the iPhone platform. Most of the attention has gone to dual-stick shooters like Minigore and Meteor Blitz.  But where are the more traditional style shooters like Ikaruga or R-type?  Sure there’s Espgaluda II, but what if you’re finished with it and want a new shooter? Fortunately The Binary Mill has produced a classic style shooter for all to enjoy.


Cinematics: I was surprised when I saw the cinematics.  There was clearly a great deal of effort put into them and it shows.  For a moment I forgot that I was playing on my iPod and not my PSP.  Quite possibly the best cut-scenes I have seen on the platform. Simply remarkable.

View Angle Changes: There are two basic views for shooters. Top down vertical climbs and horizontal side views.  Assault Squadron mixes it up by having both views interchanged throughout the game.  A very pleasant surprise that made me question why has this not been done in more shooters?  Marvelous idea.

Graphics: Most shooters now a days have great opportunities to dazzle us with amazing effects.  Assault Squadron is a fine example of just how pretty games in the genre can be. The weapons effects are not quite as awesome as I would hope for, but the rest of the art design makes up for it.

Sound: Laser sounds are sharp and explosions have a weight to them.  Quality effects.


Control: While there are 4 control schemes to choose from, with the exception of the tilt controls, they all feel about the same.  The controls themselves are adequate enough, however I prefer much more sensitive and twitchy controls for shooters.

Action: The intensity of the action is just not quite there.  Perhaps it’s the way everything seems to move just a little slowly.  This is probably related to my control preference. It’s possible I’m just used to the must faster console and arcade shooters.

Assault Squadron is a fantastic game.  While I personally prefer twitchier controls, most players will not find them to be an issue so this concern really should be considered more of a personal preference.  Overall Assault Squadron gives the player a full console experience from its cut scenes to it’s high quality visual and sound effects to its challenging boss battles.  The fact that all of this comes in a tiny iDevice app package makes it an incredible value and a buy for any shooter fan.

Assault Squadron was developed by The Binary Mill and published by Chillingo, and I played through version 1.0 of the game on my iPod Touch 3G (OS 3.1.2).  The current price point of the game is $2.99.

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