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iPad  header logo

Espgaluda II HD

For: iPad

Bigger means better?

Product: Espgaluda II HD | Developer: Cave | Format: iPad | Genre: Shooter | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Espgaluda II HD iPad, thumbnail 1
Reviewing Espgaluda II HD on the iPad feels like I’ve stepped back in time.

Not because the game tickles my nostalgia glands with its detailed and explosive sprites, which hark back to arcade classics of yore (although that is true), but because it’s been such a long time since we had a delayed HD release for a game on iPad that it feels almost retro now.

Given that Espgaluda II is one of the few games that doesn’t look bad or play badly upscaled on the iPad from the iPhone version, there’s not too much that’ll tempt owners of the original back for more.

For everyone else, meet one of the best shooters on the App Store.

Power up

At its core, Espgaluda II is a game about dancing through carefully constructed patterns of bullets using your finger, waiting for the key moment to deploy a number of moves that can help turn these pulsing blue balls of death into lovely golden coins of points.

The two modes on offer - Smartphone and Arcade - seem only subtly different at first, with both modes running through the same six short levels and against the same monster and bullet layouts.

In Smartphone mode, shooting baddies produces green gems, and once these hit 100 or more you’re able to deploy Awakened mode by tapping a virtual button (customisable for left or right handed players).

This prevents you from moving, but also slows down time, with each second spent ‘awakened’ adding to the multiplier that destroys every bullet on screen when you deactivate.

Arcade mode, meanwhile, has no minimum limit for when you can awaken and allows you to move, doubling up as a get-out-of-jail-free card in busier periods. It's also the only way of gaining gold.

However, leave it enabled too long and the bullets end up doubling in speed - not a pleasant situation to find yourself in.

Extra life

Each mode has three difficulty levels and three control methods, which add extra elements to the gameplay. For example, one lets you activate a shield that uses up energy (your health) but turns into a full-screen laser of death once released.

Then there are the three selectable characters (that again affect which leaderboard your score goes on) with their own playing styles and tactical considerations. High-score junkies should find plenty to keep them coming back.

Clever use of all the tools at your disposal is the key to beating the leaderboard scores, as demonstrated by my rather pathetic ninth place out of ten (on the pre-release copy) on my first go, a bazillion points behind first place despite completing the game on one continue.


The fantastic sprites look absolutely stunning on the iPad’s larger screen in this HD reworking, while the button-placement and delicate changes to your character's direction are naturally easier with so much more screen than the iPhone.

Is it worth buying again if you already played the upscaled smartphone version? Not really. It’s also not a game for people who don’t like repeating sections - played as a linear shooter you can ‘clear’ Espaluga II in under 25 minutes.

But if you’re more one for OpenFeint and Game Center bragging rights, or just simply want to play one of the best examples of the so-called ‘bullet-hell’ genre, then you should already be typing in your App Store password.
Espgaluda II HD
Reviewer photo
Will Wilson | 13 October 2011
Espaulga II HD looks stunning on the iPad, and is one of the best high-score chasing shooters available on the App Store
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