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Super Arc Light - It's one of those things, but maybe not the one you hope

For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone


Product: Super Arc Light | Developer: No Code Studios | Format: iPad | Genre: Arcade, Shooter | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Super Arc Light iPad, thumbnail 1
Super Arc Light certainly has some big ambitions. It wants to blend together the twitchy delirium of Super Hexagon with the arcade shmups of the late '70s and early '80s.

It's certainly an interesting tack, and in some aspects it succeeds. It's got that defiant crunch of the best coin-ops, and the simple controls that make twitch gaming so easy to get entangled in.

But the two parts of the game don't really gel together. It takes a while to get used to the slightly esoteric controls, and when you do you'll still end up frustrated rather than flowing.

And it's a shame, because I really wanted to like the game. Instead I left it feeling ever-so-slightly underwhelmed.

Multi-dimensional Space Invaders then?

The game takes place on a series of concentric circles. You're controlling a ship in the centre of them. As a round progresses, you're beset from all angles by waves of other ships. If one gets to the centre it's game over.

The ship is constantly swinging around the centre circle. When you push a finger on the screen it slows down and starts to fire. Lift your finger up and it'll start spinning the opposite way.

It makes for a lightning fast experience, but one that feels a little bit stuttery. It takes a long time just to get the hang of the controls, and while you unlock plenty of new weapons in your first few goes, it doesn't change the action enough.

The weapons appear as little power-ups around the circles. Shoot one and you unlock it for a limited time. These range from lasers to scatter shots, but they don't last very long, and they don't really change the shape of the game enough.

When things are going well, and you get in the flow, the game is pretty darn entertaining. But then you'll fail to knock out a single invader as it creeps towards the centre of the screen and the joy will sort of dribble out.

Ah, that sounds like a shame

I do believe I've already said that. There's a really fresh and interesting game waiting to explode out of here, but it never quite manages it. And if anything that makes it worse, because you know there's greatness just below the surface.

I'm not saying that Super Arc Light doesn't have its moments, or that you shouldn't give it a try, I'm just saying that where it should really sparkle is where it falls down. And where it should feel expansive and bright it feels a little narrow.

It isn't the worst game you're going to play this week, not by a long shot, but it could well be the one that you're disappointed by the most.

Because you'll want it to sparkle, you'll want it to sparkle so badly.
Super Arc Light - It's one of those things, but maybe not the one you hope
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 25 March 2016
Super Arc Light skirts the edge of brilliance, but it misses the mark and stumbles into obscurity
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