JAM: Jets Aliens Missiles Review
- The lock on missile system
- Sparse environments with no music.
- Game isn't designed around its strengths.
- Large costs for upgrades.
What could be an intense side scrolling shooter with an interesting lock on missile system is bogged down in tedium and mediocrity.
- Full Review
- App Store Info
There are some genres that are pretty difficult to adjust an iPhone control scheme to, and one of these is the shoot'em-up and its sibling, the side scrolling shooter (maybe we should call these triple S games). The biggest challenges are moving your craft without your finger obscuring vision, and how to tackle the design of shooting enemies from your craft. Now there are many entries in the App Store that have solved these problems adequately enough to create an enjoyable experience, and there are those that haven't really considered these issues. JAM: Jets Aliens Missiles is somewhere in the middle.
To be honest, the control scheme is very well thought out and has a lot of potential for fast paced and action filled gameplay. Your craft can only move up and down, and there is a section of the screen on the left between the craft and the edge of your iPhone to place your finger, so you're not covering up any visual information that could lead to your destruction. Shooting is accomplished via a lock-on system. Streams of enemies will float out from the right, and by running your finger over them, a lock-on will be engaged, with missiles jetting out in a dance of destruction upon lifting your digit off the game field. So far, so good right? Well it's then in the design of everything else that the game starts to flounder.
To begin with, the first level contains rows of enemies that are too large for your lock-on system to take out, having to either let the tail end of these rows go, or to quickly let out another batch of missiles. Both solutions feel clunky, and this is exacerbated by the lock-on system itself not having the best recognition rate when you're passing your fingers over enemies. This kind of game based choice, when your weapons are not sufficient enough for the onslaught is definitely something that can be rewarding when tackled later on in a game like this, but to begin with these choices is unfortunate. The trick lies in that your lock-on quota can be upgraded in the shop (along with new guns and ships), but the currency orbs are collected from enemies, or purchased in-app. That combined with the prices makes it look like design towards monetization rather than a balanced game.
With the levels being rather sparse visually, and no music to speak of, it's like the game was released too early, as there's still a lot of balancing and presentation work to be done. Perhaps the game just rubbed us the wrong way, but it's hard to see anyone but the biggest shooter fans sticking around for the long haul and reaping any rewards that are buried within.