As developers have started to become more and more aware of the iPad's power as a gaming device, so games have started to become more elaborate. Some developers, however, have stayed closer to their roots and continue to develop some excellent retro-style titles.
Static Motion is one such game. It doesn't look like much, it doesn't sound like much and there's not too much to the gameplay. Yet, all that "not much" adds up to quite a bit. If you see what I mean!
The objective is fairly straightforward. Invaders fly onto your screen and you must explode them by touching them straight in the middle. Do this successfully and they explode; don't quite time it right and the whole screen will judder (sending your aim out) and you will lose time. You have to destroy a certain number of invaders to progress to the next level. Run out of time and it's game over.
The game starts off pretty easy. Aliens are slow and tend to take fairly predictable paths so picking them off is straightforward. As you progress aliens become tougher (and more numerous), faster and less predictable so destroying them becomes a real test of your reflexes and hand-eye co-ordination. Thankfully, help is also at hand. Different aliens produce different effects when destroyed. Some, for example, explode in a massive cloud, which destroys any others that come into contact with it. This means that the well-timed death of one alien can take out several others simultaneously.
The game is a a lot trickier than at first appears. It's a bit like one those fairground challenges where you have to guide a metal loop across a twisted piece of metal without either touching. One mistake can lead to another and another so that a single mis-timed tap can lead to multiple errors that seriously cut down on the time you have left. That then puts even more pressure on you to get it right, increasing the risk of further errors.
Although the basic gameplay is fun, this is probably not a title that you're going to get lost in. The nature of the gameplay means that you're much more likely to play it in short bursts than longer gaming sessions. The upside is the long term appeal. Because the game is instantly accessible and simple to play, it's a title that you will return to regularly.
As you might expect from such a simple game, graphics and sound are not up to much, but they are perfectly suited to the retro appeal of the title. Aliens are simple geometric shapes outlined in neon colours to make them stand out against the black background. It's very reminiscent of the Geometry Wars games. The graphical simplicity works in its favour, giving it a clean look that makes it instantly accessible.
Accompanying the graphics are some fairly limited sound effects, but again, these suit the game and are surprisingly atmospheric. The loud CLANG you hear when you miss an alien will really make you jump the first time you hear it. It's also surprisingly off-putting and can again often cause you to make several consecutive mistakes
The simplicity of game design is carried forward into the controls. To destroy an enemy, all you do is touch the screen. Touch the right place and it explodes; touch the wrong bit and CLANG! It's an elegant, simple solution that works perfectly and needs no complicated instructions.
Three stars does feel a little mean for this title, particularly since it only costs 69p. It's never going to be a game that consumes hours and hours of your time and you're only ever likely to play it in short bursts. However, it is one that's a lot of fun to play. Three and a half stars is probably a fairer score.
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