A few weeks back, Radiangames began bringing their iOS titles to Android. Another trio has recently gone live and is worth checking out.
Fireball SE is a wild arcade avoidance game with extremely tight controls. Using a single thumb, you drag around a left-corner joypad to direct your yellow fireball around the arena. Blue orbs chase the fiery stream and will kill you if you come into contact. Your only recourse is to arm or detonate the red bombs floating around the screen. Moving in close proximity will arm one and cause it to explode in a matter of seconds. You could also just ram into a bomb to set it off immediately. Big combos will spawn different bombs that create massive explosions. Your meltdown meter allows you to place a second finger on screen to slow down time momentarily and escape a hairy situation. Enemies come in 8 waves that require you to destroy increasingly greater numbers of orbs. Vaporized orbs leave behind yellow sparks that refill your meter when collected. Countdown mode is a modified survival arena that tasks you with not dying over the course of 3 minutes, and Survival is an endless mode that tasks you with remaining alive as long as possible.
Graphically, the dark backdrop allows the lighter blue orbs to stand out, while the dark red bombs have a tendency to blend in a bit, especially when in the heat of a hectic match. The backdrop also incorporates wave count, score, and other information so that you don’t have to pull your eyes off of the action even for a moment. The soundtrack is arcade-y and the sound effects add to the experience. Controls are simple to use and extremely responsive, allowing you to switch up direction quickly and maneuver within crowds of enemy orbs with ease. Replay value is great, as this is effectively a high-score chase. Normal and Chilled difficulty modes offer different challenges, and there are a bunch of achievements to earn. At $1.99, Fireball SE is a 4.5-Dimple stud.
Bombcats SE is a departure from the dual-stick shooters and block puzzlers to which we’ve grown accustomed. Bombcats is a physics puzzler that falls more in line with the likes of iBlast Moki. In it, you propel cats into the gaming area to release kittens that are trapped in bubble cages. This task is accomplished by physical contact or causing nearby explosions. There are multiple cat types to use, and each has an Angry Birds-like special ability. Like the aviary-based juggernaut, you also slingshot the cats into play to trigger the proceeding events. As with most physics puzzlers, there is the additional goal of collecting 3 stars (suns, in this case) to prove your worth on each of the dozens and dozens of levels. Multiple game modes vary the play style in fun ways, forcing you to complete levels quickly, alter previously-positive strategies to incorporate new cat types, etc. Your scores on each level are converted into gems, which can be used to purchase costumes, upgrades, boosts, and powers that you unlock as you progress through the game.
Graphically, the art style features an ultra-cute cartoon look, with bright colorful environments and superb physics. The animations were very smooth and level layouts became challenging once we got past the first several rounds. The soundtrack is syrupy sweet and the controls are easy to use. Drag backward from the cat to set the angle and release to send the cat flying. If you have additional shots, you touch the gaming area relative to the cat to set the angle again and release to fire. A button in the lower right corner will cause the cat to explode immediately when pushed. Replay value is great, as the variety of game modes kept things interesting and motivated us to continue long after we expected the game to get repetitive. At $2.99, Bombcats is a 4-Dimple game.
Ballistic SE is a dual-stick shooter that features fast and furious action, fun gameplay enhancements, and a ridiculous number of enemies on-screen with virtually no slowdown. You ship automatically fires a bevy of fiery ammo as you wend your way around the board, clearing paths through the hordes of enemies that continually descend upon you. There are bomb to set off that will clear all enemies in an area, as well as purple rockets to fire off. There is the potential for huge point totals as you increase your multiplier and stay alive. You only have a few lives, but you earn more at certain intervals. You also earn enhancements that can be applied to a variety of categories, such as making explosions cover more ground, shooting faster, firing homing missiles, dropping mines, and more. In addition to playing Waves, you can play Challenge levels and choose from two difficulty levels.
The graphics are fantastic, with brightly colored enemies and ammunition flying about against a dark backdrop that really makes everything pop. The animations are smooth as silk, even through there are dozens of objects moving about the screen at any given time. The soundtrack is enjoyable, and the sound effects fit the arcade setting well. Controls are spot-on, with the left joystick controlling movements while the right stick controls manual firing. There is also a Ballistic button that is usable when its meter charges. Hitting this button will slow time and fire off more powerful ammo for several seconds. The controls are customizable and their sensitivity can be adjusted, too, though we found the defaults to work just fine. Replay value comes from chasing high scores and using different combos of enhancements to find what works best for you. There are also achievements to earn. At $1.99, Ballistic SE is a 4.5-Dimple champ.