Say you’re stranded somewhere – at the airport waiting for your flight, at school on a long break between classes, holding up a 7-11 that the cops have surrounded while you negotiate the release of your hostages. Whatever.
And say that you’re bored, and your mind is screaming for some type of stimulation; a distraction to help pass the time. And lastly, though you’d love to sit down in front of a nice HDTV or computer monitor and play some videogames, all you have with you is your iPhone (or iPod Touch) and one measly dollar in your bank account. What are you to do?
Well, luckily for you, you’re one of the almost criminally sexy readers of TheJRE.com, and we’ve got your back on this one. We’re here to help.
If you can concentrate over the hysterical yelling of those hostages long enough to enter your iTunes password, you may choose to download a little game going by the name of Battle Shock, a title developed by Lunasea Games. For merely a single one of your prized ducats, you can install this game on your iPhone, and embark on a quick, fun little jam to help you pass the time while you wait for your Ferrari and $1,000,000 in cold hard cash to be delivered by the police.
The general gameplay framework for Battle Shock is not altogether unlike the recently covered Stick Wars. You have a castle to protect – located at the bottom of the screen – and it is up to you to defend it. Enemy attackers – who are smoothly animated and well-detailed for being such small sprites – will come from all available sides, starting with large waves coming from the north. As you advance, forces will begin appearing closer to the castle, emerging from the east and west.
Also like Stick Wars, your victory (or defeat) will largely be based on how quickly you can flick your thumb. However, this is where the similarities between these two titles draw to a close.
In Battle Shock, you have the out-of-place (but not unwelcome) ability to launch balls of steaming hot plasma at your attackers as your primary means of attack while you defend your medieval castle. You can fling these sci-fi orbs of raw destructive power – which can be upgraded and enhanced – in any direction. This comes in handy when the hordes are at your walls, pounding away, and are too close to hit with an northbound shot. But this ability to fire from any direction is a double-edged sword, as an errant plasma shot can actually damage your own castle as well. So accuracy pays in this title.
In addition to the technologically advanced plasma firing – which draws from a recharging well of energy – you can also line the castle wall with archers. They too are upgradeable, and a healthy line of them will send arrows flying towards your enemies automatically. The only downside to employing them is that they are independently vulnerable, and can be eliminated by the enemy’s own archers. So if you let the horde get too close too often, replacing the archers can become a money pit.
You can also use your accumulated cash, received from downing your enemies, to upgrade the archers range and strength. Or you can throw that hard earned cash at repairs for the castle itself. With only 100HP standing between you and failure, these repairs become more and more of a priority as you progress further into the game.
One of the must stunning and surprising things about this game was the music. Scored with beautiful, robust themes, Battle Shock definitely took its soundtracking seriously. But, not too seriously – the infamous Wilhelm scream is used humorously after felling certain attackers.
While the game is fun and addictive for a $1 title, it does have some slight flaws. Numerous times, there seemed to be issues with the collision detection, causing a well-placed plasma shot to fly right through an attacker. The issue isn’t rampant, and certainly isn’t a deal breaker, but it can be a tad annoying when struggling in the later waves.
Still, Battle Shock is an excellent buy for its $1 asking price, and a great way to kill a few minutes on the fly. And maybe, if you’re lucky, they’ll let you hold on to your iPhone in jail now that you’ve shot those hostages.