Shellrazer, a side-scrolling arcade shooter from Slick Entertainment, is now available from the app store. Featuring frantic action, a variety of weapons, and plenty of perks, Shellrazer is an intriguing title that keeps us coming back for more.
- Great cartoon presentation and smooth animation despite tons of on-screen action
- Rocking soundtrack sets the tone
- Multiple control methods are easy to use and fun in tandem
- Variety of upgradeable weapons, chow perks, persistent bonuses, and enemy types keep things fresh
- Multiple save slots and difficulty levels
- iCloud syncing allows you to continue progress on different devices
- GameCenter integration for over a dozen achievements
- Easy to get overwhelmed
- A bit cramped on the smaller-screened devices; easy to mis-hit intended weapon
Shellrazer contains a campaign with more than 50 levels, placing you in control of a large, heavily-armored turtle. This hard-backed tank can equip up to 3 different weapons systems out of a possible dozen upon his shell. These defenses factor heavily into his safe journey from one location to another that sees an army of goblins and other baddies attacking via land and air, bent on keeping him from reaching the end point. There are treasure chests along the way that reward you with coins, as does killing enemies, walking faster, and completing a level. Coins are used to upgrade weapons or purchase dozens of special chow perks and persistent bonuses, of which a small number of each can be equipped for battle. Chow is consumable and is gone once he munches on it, giving the turtle a special power for a few moments (invincibility, greater attack damage, etc.). Each level attempt, including failures, rewards you with a couple of additional perks for future use, too. Persistent bonuses can do things like increase various aspects of gameplay by percentages (improved armor, more damage to airborne enemies, etc.) or restore health over a period of time, but only while equipped. There are no deep strategic games to play, nor will you find yourself bogged down in lengthy levels. Gameplay is fast and furious, placing you in near-constant defense mode for no more than a couple of minutes. Rest on your laurels for a moment or two, and you can kiss your chances goodbye. There are two attack methods to use, and both can be performed at any given time. Three levels of difficulty give you the ability to tailor the experience to your liking.
Graphically, Shellrazer is brightly-colored and very cartoonish. The premise is kind of ridiculous, but quirky enough to be engaging and whimsical. Weapons are stacked up on the turtle’s back, creating a strange skyscraper of sorts that looks ready to fall over as he shuffles forever forward. The animations are smooth, and we experienced no slowdowns despite a lot of action occurring on-screen simultaneously. A bar at the screen top shows your level progress and any milestones along the way. The soundtrack features a screaming rock track that fits into the game style nicely. Controls are very simple to use. You can either drag from the desired weapon to the target to fire, or you can use a two-handed method where one finger creates a reticule and the other selects the weapon to fire. Moving your aiming finger around screen allows you to change your aiming line, which is crucial with weapons that tend to spray bullets. Tapping any of the 4 equipped chow perks at the screen bottom will consume said chow perk and unleash its power. Holding your finger on the turtle will speed up his walking rate. We found it much easier to control attack methods accurately on the iPad, as the iPhone screen was a little too cramped and led to plenty of accidental turtle speed-ups when we intended to fire the weapon directly adjacent to the turtle’s back. Conversely, the iPad gave us plenty of room to hit our marks. Also, the text on the iPhone screen was a bit tinier than we’d like, while everything was large and clear on the iPad.
Replay value is good, as coins are given generously, perks are plentiful, and gameplay is quick enough and exciting enough to entice us to give it just one more try over and over again. GameCenter integration provides more than a dozen achievements to earn. Three save slots allow multiple gamers to play on the same device without affecting another player’s progress, and iCloud syncing gives you the ability to pick up where you left off on a different device. A universal app on launch sale for $0.99, Shellrazer is a solid 4-Dimple affair.