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Quick Look: Super Blast 2 for iPhone

Rating 4.00 out of 5

The developers behind Super Blast 2 first wowed me with their inaugural iPhone effort Bloomies.  It’s not that Bloomies was an outstanding game, but rather that they managed to keep me engrossed by a fairly basic plant simulator.  As a result I had high hopes for Super Blast 2.  What I got was a pretty typical shooter with graphical inspirations from Bloomies and some decent but “seen ‘em before” power ups.  Consequently, Super Blast 2 ends up not being much of a super blast.

It Slices And Dices

The game has no story and no help, so I guess you just have to assume that the guys you’re shooting are bad and that’s why you’re shooting them.  The format is certainly old school – shoot a bunch of minions, collect various weapon power ups, and ultimately face the boss on each level.  Power ups range from ninja stars to cool bolts of lightning, and if you collect three stars your ship temporarily transforms and you get nifty, powerful guns.  All power ups wear off eventually and there are no “levels” to a particular weapon, but enough power up capsules plummet towards you that you should almost always have a special weapon of some sort.

If you get hit by enemy fire you lose some health, which starts at 100 and drops to 0.  When your health gets to 0 it is game over.  You can pick up health capsules from time to time, but they generally aren’t worth the risk if they’re surrounded by gunfire.  You’ll mostly likely take as much damage as you get back from recovering the capsule.  There is another way you can die as well (I think), but I have as yet to figure out what’s causing it.  All I know is that sometimes I seem to all of a sudden perish even though I still had health left.  I’m not sure if it’s because getting hit by an alien is instant death or what, but it does happen from time to time.

There’s a nice variety of aliens visually, but other than the fact that some shoot and others don’t, there’s not much difference between them in how they act.  They move in basic patterns either back and forth (the shooters) or heading down towards you.  What gets you is when you have a bunch headed towards you so you can’t deal with the ones at the top that are shooting at you.  You are stuck at the bottom and can only move back and forth via tilt control, and firing is automatically done for you.  Consequently, you don’t even really feel like you’re participating all that much in the game.

Electrifying Personality

Super Blast 2 supports both OpenFeint and Game Center for leader boards, and at least OpenFeint for achievements (I haven’t checked Game Center yet on this front).  There are only 10 achievements in OpenFeint, but it appears that at the rate I’m going it’s still going to take me a while to earn them all.  Don’t even get me started on how poorly I’m ranking on the leader boards so far…

On the plus side, the graphics are very nice indeed.  The backgrounds are detailed and have a nice range from jungle all the way to outer space.  Some of the weapons wield some pretty cool special effects.  As for the ships themselves, they actually look pretty slick as well.  Definitely not your typical vertically scrolling shooter style ship designs.  I will say that they remind me somewhat of mechanized versions of Bloomies!

The sound effects are pretty typical for this sort of game.  There are voiceovers once in a while that aren’t too bad.  I especially like the one in the beginning that says “prepare to fight” – it kind of reminds me of Killer Instinct or Mortal Kombat.  The music is well orchestrated and conveys a nice sense of urgency and adrenaline.  There are at least two different themes that I’ve picked up on so far, and I’d imagine that if there are others they probably sound cool too.

In the end it feels like Super Blast 2 was designed to cater to the same folks that play Bloomies, and I’m not sure that was the right move.  The game is very simplified as far as scrolling shooters go.  Given the excellent competition that exists for this genre on the App Store, I’m not sure what place Super Blast 2 will hold in months to come.  It’s not a bad game, it just doesn’t offer the same challenges and features that its opponents do, and there’s nothing here that you haven’t seen before.

Final Verdict: On The Fence
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