- A new take on the abstract-shooter.
- Simple to learn controls; insanely difficult to master.
- Extremely unforgiving; one hit and you're out.
- Ship placed under finger while dragging; makes precise movement difficult.
Ebb represents a small shift in a niche genre, but one that should certainly be explored further even if this title doesn't put its best foot forward.
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Ebb by Infinite Lives fits within that strange pigeon-hole of shoot'em-up games otherwise known as abstract-shooters, however it takes things a step further and removes boss encounters out of the equation altogether, leaving you behind to clean up the mess of 'bullets' in your path.
Much like Ikaruga and similar titles, you'll need to switch polarities (or in this case, colors) in order to absorb various enemies/bullets to score points. The bullet patterns are diverse and complex when mixed together, however your 'ship' has a trick up its sleeve and instead of simply dragging it around the screen to avoid objects you can 'teleport' by tapping somewhere else on the screen. With this mechanic alone, players need to warm up to a new way of thinking, attempting to teleport to safe positions once things get rough and attempting to pick up color-changing power-ups to continue their scoring streak.
here are several areas to explore and while each one has a few unique challenges, the game remains relatively similar throughout as you constantly duck in and out of 'bullets' while switching colors. The challenge of surviving for the four minutes given to you can make for a compelling reason to keep coming back for more, but without more variation the excitement slowly wears off.
Ebb is a unique take on a shooter mechanic that is already fairly niche in and of itself. SHMUP fans may enjoy the interesting challenge this represents and casual audiences after something harder than the usual arcade titles might just find themselves addicted too.