Yep, you read that right. Long before I was hopelessly addicted to my iPod Touch I wrote reviews for games on some of those OTHER mobile platforms. I was approached a couple months ago and asked if I would take a look at this new Pocket PC shooter called Giga Force and I figured maybe it was time to dust off the old Pocket PC and give it a whirl. After all it’s a shooter, so how could I refuse? The game is pretty old school and adheres to very traditional shooter concepts in both good and bad ways, but overall it’s a nice bit of fun where you get to blow things up.
Basically, you play mankind’s last hope against an alien planet that sucks the life out of other planets to refuel its resources. I’m pretty sure that came out of the “top 10 standard sci-fi plots” handbook, but that’s okay. When you’re blowing things up you don’t really care about the plot. Like most shooters, there’s plenty to blow up. The game is a vertical shooter, which means you get a top down view of your ship and all your opponents.
The bad guys come at you in droves rather than in any sort of formation, and they are relentless in their attack. I’ll use my famous quote – “it’s not a matter of IF you’ll get hit, but WHEN you’ll get hit.” The environment also plays a big part in the game because you can’t hit any platforms or anything, so it’s often a matter of taking a bullet vs. getting wedged in a corner where you can’t escape. The bad thing is that you only get like half a second of invulnerability when you respawn after dying, so it’s not unheard of to lose 2 or 3 lives because you died just as you were flying into some sort of structure and you can’t dodge it quick enough after respawning.
You have a life meter, and while you can get a shield that temporarily blocks shots, I don’t believe there’s any way to refill the meter (unless of course you die, in which case the meter will be full on your next life). Your lives are limited, but I’m not sure how many you get, as it doesn’t say in the help and there is no counter on screen. You also have a three level power up that gets fueled when you destroy bad guys. As soon as you have enough power to activate a certain level of power up you can turn it on, and it will remain active until your power runs out, even if the level drops below what’s required to initially activate the power up. Your power up meter is only fueled when you’re shooting the enemy with your standard weapon.
You can control the ship either with your stylus or with the d-pad. Firing is automatic, so you don’t have to worry about that. I tried using the d-pad, but my particular device is notorious for not playing well with games when it comes to the d-pad, and Giga Force is no exception. The stylus control works quite well, however, and the touch point is actually below the ship, so you’re hand will never actually block your view.
The visuals are nothing out of the ordinary where space shooters are concerned, but they look good enough. They ships are definitely colorful and well animated. The sound is pretty standard shooter fare as well, but the music is really well done. I think there might even be a different song for each level set, as well as a special song for the bosses.
Overall I was pretty pleased with Giga Force. It’s old school shooter fun with a decent degree of challenge. There’s nothing revolutionary about it, but I’m not sure the developer was going for that. Unfortunately, there’s one thing that keeps my from flat out recommending the game. There appears to be no save feature. In fact, once you’ve started to play, the only way out of the game is a red X in the upper right corner, which kicks you completely out of the game instead of taking you back to the menu. Once you start the game back up, you have to start all over. There really needs to be a save feature.
Final Verdict: On The Fence
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