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Fireball SE Review

By , on March 28, 2012


Fireball SE
Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5

PROS

  • Fine movement controls with slow-mo options for even more finesse.
  • Various arenas for 'Countdown' and 'Survival' let players customize their challenge.\
  • Combo system and additional 'bombs' encourages risk vs. reward strategies.

CONS

  • Extends the 'Pacifism' style of gameplay, but still quickly feels repetitive; Orange/blue visuals don't help with the monotonous atmosphere.

VERDICT

Fireball SE's passive-aggressive style of gameplay is executed with near perfection thanks to its smooth and finessed controls and various methods of destruction.


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Back when everyone and their best friend were playing Geometry Wars, I found the 'Pacifism' mode of Retro Evolved 2 to be my absolute favorite. All of the over-the-top twitch-based shooting was shelved to make way for skillful piloting as you balanced along the fine line of risk vs. reward. Fireball SE by Luke Schneider takes a crack at the same formula, albeit with some fresh twists that will have you risking more than you can handle.

Players can choose between either a fixed or floating virtual stick to move their tiny fireball - that's about it when it comes to the controls, although precision with which you can dictate your movement is incredible and something that immediately reminded me of iOS classics like Tilt to Live. This is also apt as the game's enemies are nominally small, fast and ready to swarm you, but you have two tools at your disposal to take care of them permanently. If things get hectic you can even double-touch the screen to enable a temporary slow-down mode that's smooth and exhilarating to use when you're completely cornered.

Bombs randomly scatter themselves around the level and players can either dive right in to them to cause an explosion, killing anything near you, or better still, swing nearby a bomb, lighting its fuse and catching even more enemies as they follow in your wake. Should you catch another bomb in the explosion, it too will explode and if you manage to catch 50 or more enemies in a chain you'll spawn a super-bomb that can be saved for even bigger combos.

There are other larger, slower enemies and several weapons to make use of (beware of the black-hole as you can also be sucked in), but it's the variety of ways in which the basic game is presented that makes this a great pickup for fans of skill-based Arcade titles. They break up in to 'Waves' - a mode that challenges you to reach a specific target before upping the challenge; 'Countdown' - survive as long as you can for 3 minutes, racking up large combos in one of 5 customized arenas; and lastly 'Survival' where the only thing that counts is how long you stay alive (also sporting 5 arenas with a unique mix of enemies and challenges).

Fireball SE does a great job of adding complexity to an otherwise simple premise and for those after something fast, furious and fun, it will fit the bill perfectly.

Screenshots

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