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Dual-stick geometric shooter

AbstractWar is a fast-paced, top-view, vector-graphics-based arcade shooter, with multiplayer options over Bluetooth.

AbstractWar is a fast-paced, top-view, vector-graphics-based arcade shooter, with multiplayer options over Bluetooth.

AbstractWar gives you several interface options, for both your POV and controls, and none of them is particularly good: in the game's Options page (in Spanish only), you can switch between virtual joysticks or accelerometer control (tilting your device to move), and you can choose from various views, including always-centered and stationary ("Classico") modes. "Classico" is often easier because you can see all your enemies, but if you're using virtual joysticks (which are more responsive and reliable than the accelerometer controls) that means you have dangerous blind-spots under your thumbs.

Once you've settled on the least-bad control scheme, AbstractWar's gameplay is fun but uneven (and often overly difficult because of the interface), as you fly around a tight rectangular screen, dodging and shooting at a variety of geometric-shaped menaces. The game's Survival mode lets you choose between dual or single joysticks (with the latter, you're always shooting), "Cruces" mode (enemies only attack at right angles), and a clever if difficult to describe Pacifist mode, in which you weave weaponlessly through enemies while trying to detonate bombs to defend yourself. The game's Campaign mode mixes up the control schemes, challenging you to stay alive for preset time limits across four different difficulty levels.

There's a lot to like about AbstractWars, including its cool weapon upgrades and vibrant (if not unique) graphics and sound, and the game offers decent pick-up-and-play value for fans of multidirectional shooters. The age of the app's developer has gotten a lot of attention (he's only 15), but for a paid app, that's no excuse for having such an inconsistent difficulty curve, a partial English translation, and other rough edges in what's already an overpopulated genre. We hope to see improvements (and hopefully a price drop and an iPad version) in future updates.

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