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The DRM Death Ray Manta

For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone

Ray dead

Product: The DRM Death Ray Manta | Developer: PsychicParrot Games | Publisher: PsychicParrot Games | Format: iPad | Genre: Arcade, Shooter | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
The DRM Death Ray Manta iPad, thumbnail 1
Twin-stick arcade-shooters have become known for their neon explosions and noisy electronic soundtracks, but The DRM Death Ray Manta takes these staples of the genre to their zenith in a blaze of colours and trills.

It's not a title for the faint of heart, and there are a few glaring omissions that mean it's unlikely to find a place in the play rotation of even the most ardent blaster fan, but The DRM Death Ray Manta deserves praise for its visual and sonic audacity.

Death zone

This is a game that doesn't take itself very seriously. The bite-size levels are interrupted with snatches of weird dialogue, the main protagonist is a big eyed Manta ray, and the special power-ups you can grab are called Space Tiffins.

You move your Manta around the screen with a floating joystick on the left of the screen and fire out shots of colour with one on the right. Levels last a handful of seconds, and task you with clearing the screen of a number of enemies.

There are other obstacles to avoid as well, including triangular lumps that kill you if you touch them, and ships that scoot around the border of the walled-off arena firing out blasts of energy that will end your run through the game.

Every level has a Space Tiffin to collect, which gives your weapons a boost and scores you a point. Finishing a level gets you another point. Once you die, your score is totalled up and you're thrown back out to the main menu.

Death knell

There's no Game Center support, and no leaderboards to compete on. It's just you against yourself, trying to add to your own highscore. The tiny levels give the game a staccato rhythm, and it's hard to find any flow in the few seconds you are playing for.

The DRM Death Ray Manta is an oddity. It's decidedly singular in its outlook, and while it looks and sounds ridiculous the one note gameplay makes it difficult to really get into.

It's a shame because there's some wicked imagination and wit behind the game - it's just not enough to keep you entertained for any longer than a few minutes.

[Update: On first publication this review wrongly stated that The DRM Death Ray Manta doesn't save your highscore. We've amended the text.]

The DRM Death Ray Manta
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 4 February 2013
Fans of hardcore shooters will find a lot to like here, but there are too many omissions to make The DRM Death Ray Manta a must-buy
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Show: Latest | Oldest
Feb 2013
Post count:
@psychicparrot | 20:33 - 5 February 2013
Thanks for correcting the high score issue :)
Sep 2012
Post count:
Ron Goodrich | 19:44 - 4 February 2013
I instabought this app. Was kinda disappointed. No progression system of any kind? Don't care about high scores. Start...die. Start...die. Start...die.
Feb 2013
Post count:
@psychicparrot | 19:03 - 4 February 2013
Harry - can you please double check that the game is not holding your high score? I am the author and I've had no complaints about it from anyone (it would be a bug, if it were true).

I wonder if it is because the 'best' label text was missing in the initial release - in the top center of the main game, there is your high score. Sadly, we missed off the 'Best' label in that launch build. It is fixed in an update currently waiting for Apple approval, along with some controls improvements.