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For: iPhone   Also on: Android

Time and space invader

Product: Radiant | Publisher: Hexage | Format: iPhone | Genre: Arcade, Shooter | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.6
Radiant iPhone, thumbnail 1
It’s hard to know if Radiant is a brave and brutally uncompromising title or if it's just poorly designed in places. We’re inclined to go with the former possibility, but only because its flaws are most certainly nods to gaming’s past, as opposed to grievous oversights.

Borrowing heavily and almost exclusively from Space Invaders, Radiant is an open love letter to the games today’s thirty-somethings played as children.

It’s packed with knowing references to an era long gone, such as when Commander Norton jumps in after you clear your first asteroid field to say, "Beautiful, Max. It reminded me of mindless blasting forward and it felt good." Indeed, it is mindless and it does feel good.

Fire at will

You take control of a small ship which you use to battle a formidable procession of glowing, multi-coloured aliens. The only control you have over the events of the game is to move your ship left and right by tapping the respective sides of the screen.

The ship fires automatically, so like many arcade iterations of the same formula the aim is to position your ship so as to fire on the enemies or avoid asteroids or aliens that invade your immediate space.

There are pick-ups to be had that alter the rate and potency of your fire, as well as credits which can be spent at key points on upgrading your abilities.

Groundhog Day

The big issue with Radiant is also one of its charming retro quirks. When you lose all three lives, it’s back to the start. This undermines the amusing narrative which is threaded through the levels, where you, Max Blaster, and the aforementioned Commander Norton exchange banter, fleshing out a simple plot.

The harsh, three-tries-you're-out approach is clearly a decision that reflects Hexage’s affection for retro games, but it does cause undue frustration that could be solved by the minor concession of checkpoints or even - gasp - a save system.

Then again, perhaps that would cost Radiant some of its purity. From the deliberately pixelated graphics to the tinny sound effects, there is something profoundly artistic about its mix of knowing aesthetics and stubborn lack of compromise.

Chances are, if you’ve liked games for any length of time Radiant at the very least will make you smile a wistful smile for days gone by, which for 99c/59p, is a modern day bargain.
Reviewer photo
Fraser MacInnes | 27 November 2009
Radiant gets away with more than most games do, due to a rare self-awareness; importantly though, it’s both fun and pretty to look at, even if it is something of a curiosity
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Show: Latest | Oldest
Apr 2012
Post count:
Bogle | 05:28 - 10 April 2012
First of all, 30 somethings? No sir. 40 somethings. I was YOUNG when Space Invaders came out. Nine to be exact. That was 1979. This year I will turn 43. Most gamers of those days are in their 40s or early 50s. Time goes by quickly my friend. The 30 somethings were more raised on consoles. Even I promptly saw the decline of the arcades. One thing missing from this review is the FANTASTIC electronic music. My brother is an ambient dj and I've heard it all. This is possibly the best music I've ever heard in a video and the one thing that truly doesn't make you reminisce. The auto-fire of the game is both good and bad. It makes you time your movements, but it's also kind of cool that you never have to deal with firing. Simply playing on casual mode means you don't have to start from scratch (as poster Eric noted) so I'd recommend that to anyone. I believe the skill level is the same so your big criticism of the game is really just a feature for those who think they can brave such a feat. This is my favorite android game. I do wish I could use more than one weapon at a time...that would rock. It'd make it too easy granted, but fun nonetheless ;). It should be noted that if you DO play on casual mode, you can purposely die time to time after making money because you will not only continue..but you will have additional money. You'll actually be tougher for each time you die if you made any money before you did (it's almost impossible not to). I love and adore this game. You can only get through the first stage of ten if you don't purchase it, but I'd recommend it to anyone to try because that first stage is loooooong. Many boards. It will ask you a few times if you want to purchase, but it's not over...just say no and you can play for quite a while. Personally, I've grown to love it so much that I have to buy it now. It's just TOO well done. I once had it on a phone that couldn't handle it but I would turn on the menu a few times...just...to hear...that wonderful soundtrack.
Anonymous | 02:01 - 26 November 2010
Yeah, and if you choose to play in "casual" mode, then each time you run out of three lives you start again exactly where and as you were - same weapons, score, everything. Just like inserting another coin.