Wonton 51 Review

By , on October 31, 2011

Wonton 51
Download on the AppStore
3 out of 5


  • A simple crossbreed between 'endless' runners and 'bullet hell' shooters.
  • Simple, but effective retro visuals.


  • Control schemes not well suited to the type of gameplay on offer.
  • Interface problems; incorrect rotation and realignment for horizontal play (and no pause button?)
  • The humor occasionally feels mocking instead of 'tongue in cheek'; mileage may vary here.


Wonton 51 doesn't quite offer the same depth as a real bullet hell or the usual skill based challenge of an endless platformer, but it explores the territory somewhere between them to come up with something interesting to try.

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The popularity of abstract shooters and endless titles was eventually bound to result in a developer marrying the two, with games like Phoenix by Firi Games capturing the spirit of a bullet hell shoot'em-up while still having the hook of hitting 'replay' over and over. Wonton 51 by Quarter Circle Punch takes another stab at the formula, opting for a self-aware style that adds some humor in to the mix.

As with any self-respecting game invoking the early days of the arcade (as this retro pixel-art designed game certainly does), the hero is forced in to action after his girlfriend is kidnapped... by mecha robots... oh and he can transform in to a mecha robot... powered by ramen. Add in the cheesy (and borderline weeaboo-mocking) Japanese voice overs, text and city scape and you have the backdrop for Wonton 51.

Players guide their hero by swiping the bottom or left side of the screen (depending on whether you play vertically or horizontally respectively) to move him back and forth while touching the screen to fire salvos of bullets (and eventually rockets if you upgrade enough). Eating ramen adds a point of health to your hero, up to a maximum of 3, also upgrading his weapon at the same time. From there on out it's all about avoiding buildings, shooting enemies and generally staying alive.

Small bonuses such as 'scraping' buildings can earn extra points, but at anything but the slower speeds this is nearly suicidal to try. Should you survive long enough you'll encounter various mini-bosses, getting stronger each time you reach them and if you're lucky you may just rescue the girl.

Wonton 51 has potential, but it's hampered by too many shortcomings to really excel. Interface woes such as the game not realigning properly for horizontal play and not having separate control schemes for vertical play (your hand repeatedly gets in the way of what's happening) distract from the otherwise repetitive gameplay.

Worth a shot if you're after a different kind of shmup that doesn't mind poking fun at the Western love-affair of Japanese culture.


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