The DRM Death Ray Manta Review

By , on February 7, 2013

Death Ray Manta (DRM)
Download on the AppStore
3 out of 5


  • Top shelf audio and visual presentation.
  • A re-imagining of Robotron 2084.
  • A lot of personality.


  • Controls do not give the functionality needed to tackle what the game is asking of you.
  • Pretty hefty visual bug on the 3GS.


This is a hyper-kinetic Robotron 2064 that would be easy to recommend if the controls weren't fighting you every step of the way.

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The DRM Death Ray Manta is a game that I shall hereafter refer to as just Death Ray Manta. It is an exercise in sense-overload as you are bombarded with hyper-kinetic visuals, a pulsing soundtrack, and levels that either end in victory or defeat before you've even gotten your bearings. What type of game is it? Think Robotron 2084 with an epileptic makeover. It's been getting a lot of positive buzz around review circles if the quotes are to be believed, so let's see if there's anything to the hype.

Like Robotron or any other twin-stick shooter, Death Ray Manta uses the stick on the left for moving, and the stick on the right for shooting... except that you shoot while moving as well. Each level starts with your character surrounded by green and red bad-guys who move in for the kill. If you annihilate all of them, you move onto the next stage, and if they touch you, if you touch an obstacle, or if you get hit by any other brand of laser or missile fire, the game ends and you have to start over from square one. Often the stages are claustrophobic, and with the enemies surrounding you from the get-go, it's very easy to be overwhelmed immediately. This design calls for responsive and fluid movement, but unfortunately the controls don't offer this. Instead the best course of action is to shoot out a wide berth in one direction so you can run to a corner or wall and pick off everything closing in on your location. Of course with the lasers and other projectiles, this is near impossible in later stages, and thanks to the clunky movement, being on the move will result in death.

What the game lacks in fluid control however, it makes up for in phenomenal presentation. Not only do the colors, the particle effects, the sound effects, and the music come together to create a dizzying and hypnotic play experience, the developer has infused the game with a quirky personality from the names of the levels to the notes that litter the bottom of the screen. This game knows exactly what it is, and this strong sense of identity does a lot to leave the player with a positive look on the game, even with its control faults.

And finally just a quick word of warning. The game is optimized for the iPhone 5, and testing it on the 3GS resulted in the analogue sticks taking up half the screen, obscuring the majority of the gameplay. This should be easily patched, and if the controls can be patched likewise to make things a little more fluid, this will be a definite recommend, as any game that punches you in the face with its presentation like this deserves to at least be noticed... as redundant as that sounds.


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Lunick 5 years, 10 months ago

4 May, 2013 $1.99 FREE

But it's not?