Sunday, 24 June 2012

Dragon Flight (iOS)

I've been playing a few games on my iPhone lately.  That makes a bit of a change... with the exception of The Bard's Tale, there's been very little to catch my imagination in the last month or two.

Fortunately, people on my Twitter feed, Rev. Stu Campbell in particular, will often champion the cause of a gaming underdog.  And as they're usually either cheap or free, I'm more than willing to give them a try.

It's all happening here.  Look out for that flaming rock!
The first one I had a go at was Dragon Flight.  If you were to just look at the screenshots, you could be forgiven for thinking it's a bullet-hell type shoot 'em up, and as Cave has more or less cornered that market, you could also be forgiven for passing it up.  But Dragon Flight is not what you might think...

That sounds very cryptic, so let me explain.  Dragon Flight is an "endless runner" style of game, where the object is to get as far as possible.  Yeah, I know, yet another one.  But this one is a bit more interesting, enjoyable and addictive than the majority of them.

Cutting a swathe through enemy dragons.
Dragon Flight sees you sitting atop a dragon, your girly pink hair flowing in the breeze, flying upwards and spitting fire.  Yes, it's a vertically-scrolling shooter as well as an endless runner.  Lines of enemy critters stream down at you, and you need to blast a gap in the line that's big enough for you to pass through.   As long as you're able to do that, you should be OK.

It's never that easy, though, and some of the enemies are fairly resistant to your firepower.  It's up to you to spot these as quickly as possible, so that you can manoeuvre to a position that will see you through.  This is certainly enough of an obstacle to make things difficult.

Destroyed dragons leave a shower of gold coins!

That said, there are ways to make things easier.  Shooting any of the enemies will see them releasing items for you to pick up.  The standard items are gold coins... the more of these you pick up, the better, as you can spend them in the shop and permanently upgrade your firepower.  Other items available include valuable gems and one-use items, such as a limited-time dual shot or "hyper flight", which sees you roaring through the enemies at high speed for a few seconds, despatching anything which stands in your way.

I might be getting better, but it doesn't mean I'm any good...

There are two different scores to chase... furthest distance, and highest score.  You can consciously go for one or the other while you're playing... furthest distance is easier to go for, obviously.  But to entice you into going for a higher score, the game has a very well thought-out risk/reward element.  Much like many modern shooters, you score more points for shooting enemies when they're closer to you.  This is a dangerous way of playing, but when you know you can earn many times a "normal" score, it's very tempting to give it a go, and the game helpfully puts a health bar over stronger enemies to help you judge what you're doing.

Dragon Flight is very entertaining and has that crucial "one more go" factor.  If it weren't for the fact it's sharing time with two other iOS games I've also downloaded this week, I'd probably never be off it.  As it is, it's a great little timewaster, and it's free!  Unless you've got absolutely no room left on your iThing, you've got no excuse for not downloading this, at all.

Dragon Flight is FREE on iTunes!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

They Were Our Gods

Just writing a quick post here, for anyone who hasn't picked up on it yet.

I've committed myself to another writing project... a big one.  It is to be called They Were Our Gods, and it will be a book celebrating British games and programmers of the Eighties.  I don't believe they get anywhere near enough credit in games books, so I'm aiming to put that right.

I've got a blog up and running for the book... kind of like ZZAP! 64's Diary of a Game, but less interesting.  Nonetheless, if you want to see my daily struggles and successes with the book's progress, go here: They Were Our Gods.

I'm two weeks in... there's a long road ahead, but let's see how it goes.

In the meantime, I won't be completely abandoning A Gamer Forever Voyaging; after all, I can't spend all my time on that, so I'll still write about games I play that are unrelated to the book.  But you'll forgive me if it's updated less frequently than you'd like, I hope.

So, please join me on my journey if you're interested.  Even better, spread the word.  The more people that get behind the project, the better.  I've got a Facebook page if you're into that sort of thing, you can like it here: Facebook - They Were Our Gods.  I've also set up a Twitter account that you could follow... you can't link to Twitter accounts, it seems, but the name is @TheyWereOurGods.

Here's to an ongoing saga of tears and happiness, trials and tribulations and above all, games!