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For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

Fossil fire

Product: Velocispider | Publisher: Retro Dreamer | Format: iPhone | Genre: Arcade | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Velocispider iPhone, thumbnail 1
Despite initially sounding like an unusual title - considering the protagonist is a blend of dinosaur and robot spider, while the enemies are flying sea robots - Velocispider is relatively normal as shooters go.

The blend of Space Invaders, Galaga, and Defender plays out exactly how you’d expect an old skool arcade title to play. That is to say: reassuringly solid.

It’s not going to be a game that’ll have you coming back to it time and again (as with a more modern twist on the formula like Tilt to Live or a bullet-hell nightmare like DoDonPachi), but the twenty levels on offer still provide a decent blast from the past.

Insert coin

The aim, as is normally the case in shooters, is to blast waves of enemies back whence they came, which in this case appears to be an evil megacorporation that specialises in aquatic robotics.

Your spider-dinosaur-thing is controlled by tilting the iPhone, with firing taken care of automatically - lasers plopping out of the large cannon at a pace that is just about slow enough to make you yearn for a power-up.

Pressing on the screen starts to charge up the cannon, allowing for a bolt of laser death to fly upwards and destroy any of the weaker beasts in one shot, while random drops contain the genre staples: double-fire, three-way shot, and rapid fire.

The controls are tight and responsive, although thanks to the sheer height of your creature, it can be frustratingly hard to dodge a group of bullets when they’re hurtling towards you.

Attack formations

Enemies react in ways taken directly from the game’s inspiration. Some waves see you taking apart rows of creatures working their way down to your position, while others see the familiar semicircle descent attempt to jam you into the corners.

You get three lives and have to protect three eggs at the bottom of the screen.

If you mess up, you can continue (with the score reset) from whichever wave you died on, so those just looking to blast through the game won’t ever be too frustrated.

There’s no clever scoring mechanic whirring away in the background - should you last longer than another person, you’re almost guaranteed to be higher up the Game Center leaderboards.


It all flows very smoothly, the pixel-art presentation and chiptune-esque soundtrack helping to persuade you that you're playing an early shoot-'em-up, albeit one that’s not nearly as hard as its progenitors.

In a similar vein, there’s isn't much here that will surprise those who’ve grown up with the arcade cabinets of the '80s, either, with little in the way of innovation outside of the surreal monster design.

It won’t take long to blast through, despite a difficulty spike around the 15th wave, and you’re unlikely to return to your robot spider once you’ve finally blasted the overly long final boss to pieces.

But for a distraction on the daily commute, you can do a lot worse than a round of Velocispider.
Reviewer photo
Will Wilson | 1 June 2011
An entertaining, if familiar, shooter, Velocispider may not be the most original title on the App Store, but it offers up a good dose of dependable old skool gaming
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