Old-school arcade action

Super Laser: The Alien Fighter is a fast-paced, vertically scrolling 2D shooter in the spirit of arcade classics like Raiden, Xevious, and 1942.

Super Laser: The Alien Fighter is a fast-paced, vertically scrolling 2D shooter in the spirit of arcade classics like Raiden, Xevious, and 1942.

You pilot a small ship that never stops shooting, maneuvering through tight formations of enemies that attack throughout the game's seven frenetic levels--all of which end in boss battles of increasing epic-ness. The game gives you four different choices for controlling your ship: Touch (you just place and move your finger wherever you want your ship), Relative (like Touch, but you can place your finger anywhere on the screen, e.g., beside your ship), Joypad (a virtual direction-pad), and Motion (tilting your device to move). You pick up power-ups over the course of the game to boost your primary weapon (you can choose and cycle between a pinpoint laser, wide-shot missiles, or a multidirectional gun), while other power-ups repair damage to your ship or give you a secondary laser and floating shields (which will array themselves differently depending on which of two ship types you choose at the start of the game). You also have a limited number of nigh screen-clearing destructive bombs.

Super Laser's biggest shortcoming is its interface, which may just be an inherent problem for this type of game on a touch screen. Each control scheme has its drawbacks: Touch and Relative are responsive but they partially block your view of the screen, while Joypad is sluggish and Motion can be imprecise. Interface limitations aside, Super Laser excels at recreating the frantic action of the arcade stand-ups it seeks to emulate. With three difficulty settings, Super Laser encourages repeat play through deviously designed levels and boss fights--including an especially (almost ridiculously) tough boss-battle finale. Unfortunately, the game only has one save slot, so you can only progress through at one difficulty setting at a time. Super Laser is a solid download for fans of this genre.

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