Earth Defense Force Review

By , on January 24, 2011

Earth Defense Force
  • Publisher: DotEmu
  • Genre: Arcade
  • Released: 14 Jan, 2011
  • Size: 11.9 MB
  • Price: $1.99
Download on the AppStore
3 out of 5


  • Solid port of a classic SNES title.
  • Arcade style SHMUP challenge.
  • Six levels to complete and bonus weapons to unlock.


  • Swipe controls feel awkward; no option to modify them specifically.
  • Bland, generic style; though understandable for a 20 year old game.


Earth Defense Force may not be the best SHMUP from the SNES, but it's still a decent shooter and a decent port of an otherwise aging title.

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Earth Defense Force is yet another collaboration between DotEmu and JALECO in their attempt to resurrect classic arcade titles for a modern generation. In this classic side-scrolling shoot'em-up you'll travel through six different stages, slowly powering up your ship before the final confrontation and unlocking additional features.

This really is classic SHMUP gaming, though it's hard to say 'at its best' as there are a few quirks that make it hard to truly enjoy. Most importantly players need to be able to control their ship with accuracy and while the full-screen swipe system is certainly the best option (seriously, don't bother with the virtual stick), there are no options to customize the controls to your liking (e.g., no ability to switch between relative or direct control or sensitivity). For a game that's best described as 'arcade' level in its difficulty - that is to say, entirely unforgiving - not being able to react with accuracy quickly becomes frustrating.

Also, much like SEGA's emulated Genesis titles, Earth Defense Force is limited to the visuals present in the original SNES version. While the graphics still hold up relatively well, after almost 20 years the designs border on generic for the genre.

Earth Defense Force is still a solid shoot'em-up and certainly a game some SNES owners may consider a classic. This release is definitely for those nostalgic for classic shooters or those who played the game in the past, but if you're willing to take a few knocks on the chin you may still enjoy the challenge of this shooter as well.


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