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Space Tripper

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad

We be trippin’

Product: Space Tripper | Developer: True Axis | Publisher: PomPom Games | Format: iPhone | Genre: Arcade, Retro, Shooter | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.0
Space Tripper iPhone, thumbnail 1
As any right-minded arcade master will tell you, whenever you’re facing insurmountable odds with nothing but your lasers for company, you need the best possible interface available.

Most coin-op connoisseurs will cite the humble micro-switched joystick as their weapon of choice, because it allows for fluid movement, quick responses, and pixel-perfect precision in the heat of battle.

Such an interface is the polar opposite of the one provided by iOS blaster Space Tripper. Instead of a sturdy stick with instantaneous response time, you’re expected to take on the alien hordes using the tilt control of your iDevice.

Tilt trouble

Given than Space Tripper is a traditional 2D shooter in every sense of the word, this predictably causes issues. The levels you’re expect to clear of enemies are narrow and twisting, and the foes you face glide around the screen with terrifying grace.

Your weapons discharge automatically in Space Tripper, and you have two available shot types to choose from.

The blue variant is a focused beam of energy, which is powerful but can only take out enemies directly in front of you. The red weapon has a spread to it, and is therefore better for dealing with multiple targets - although, predictably, it’s weaker than the blue laser.

Both of these weapons can be augmented by picking up icons dropped by vanquished foes.

The right tool for the job

You can toggle your weapon by tapping the left-hand side of the display. Tapping the right-hand side turns your craft 180 degrees. In this regard, Space Tripper feels a lot like the classic arcade machine Defender, as you’re not limited to scrolling in one direction.

Initially, the tilt controls in Space Tripper feel reasonably responsive, but as soon as the difficulty ramps up it becomes painfully clear that they’re simply not up to the task. Prolonged play allows you to account for the delay and learn new tactics, but chances are most players will have given up by then.

Even without its obtuse controls, Space Tripper is a tough cookie. It’s been fashioned in the best tradition of the classic coin-op shooter, with rock-hard difficulty and a challenge so stern that only the most skilful players will come close to mastering it.

Tough as old boots

With three game modes to choose from, as well as three different difficulty levels, Space Tripper doesn’t hold back on content. There’s also a decent degree of variety to the levels and enemies, with each new stage providing a fresh backdrop and a host of new hostile forces to contend with.

If you have the patience of a saint and relish a tough 2D shooter, then Space Tripper may appeal enough for you to overlook the awkward tilt interface. Sadly, we fear that everyone else will become disenchanted with the lack of precise control and the unforgiving difficulty.

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Space Tripper
Reviewer photo
Damien McFerran | 24 November 2011
Space Tripper attempts to resurrect the hard-as-nails coin-op blaster genre on the iPhone, but the tilt controls don’t offer the degree of control required for such a uphill battle
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