Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Mobile Games #8

Radiant (2014)
By: Hexage Genre: Shooting Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Android First Day Score: 517,106
Also Available For: iOS, Windows Phone

Shoot 'em ups have surely proven to be one of the most enduring of the early game genres, but if there is one modern format they aren't really suited to it's that of touch-screen devices. Some do exist - quite a few actually - but I haven't been brave enough to try any of the more hectic ones yet. For my first I thought I'd try something a bit simpler, and as if my magic the next game I happened upon was Radiant which looked like fitting the bill superbly. It is most definitely a shmup, but one based more on the earliest form of the genre - the gallery shooter game (i.e. Space Invaders, Galaxians, etc). That doesn't seem like it should require a terribly complicated control system, and so seemed about as ideal for this format as any shmup could. Let's hope my vision proves to be correct...

Pyew, pyew, pyew... Look at all the colours!
There is actually a basic backstory of sorts which involves the usual alien invasion and lone hero saving the day and all that stuff. In this case, you play the part of Max Blaster while the evil interloper is a large red Space Invaders character called 'Supercreep', and his hordes of 'creeps' now occupy upward of a hundred stages! Oh dear. Most of these are much like the one on the right here - single screens with formations of small, fluorescent creeps and a few larger examples as well. Despite featuring characters somewhat akin to those found in Space Invaders (as well ghosts from Pac-Man!), however, they behave more like Galaxians aliens, swooping around and taking kamikaze runs at your surprisingly large ship. Luckily, you have more than just a mere pea-shooter for taking them out.

One of the splendid Asteroids levels...
Well, you do start with precisely such a weedy little spud-gun, but some creeps release money tokens when they're destroyed, and you can use these at the end of each wave in the weapons shop. Here you can buy new weapons and there are a total of six to choose from - Vulcan Cannon, Bio Blaster, Plasma Gun, Disruptor Laser, Seeking Missiles, and Smart Gun. Each of these is at the first of ten power levels when bought but you can upgrade them all one level at a time, which of course requires more cash, and you can also buy extra lives in the shop too. Any of the weapons you buy is added to you arsenal and you can switch between them at any time by tapping your ship and choosing whichever one you fancy. Sweet!

Choose your upgrades carefully, they're not cheap...
Other than that the controls simply consist of touching the left and right sides of the screen to move in either direction as your ship fires automatically. This adds a little strategy to your play as you need to move at the right time not only to avoid incoming enemy fire but also to time your own hits with maximum efficiency. Interestingly, it is only enemy fire that damages your ship too - the actual creeps themselves are not harmful, although they do often shoot at you from point-blank range so it's still safer to keep your distance. Once all the creeps in each wave are destroyed, it's on to the next. Breaking up the action now and then are asteroid stages where you need to survive a barrage of floaty space rocks rather than aliens, and every tenth stage you'll also face a terrifying boss!

The Disruptor Laser is slow but powerful...
These are not nearly as harrowing as those from many similar games though, and generally Radiant isn't an overly tough game. There are three difficulty levels to choose from but, even on the default, few creeps are downed by single shots, even the smallest, most common kind, but your progress across the three 'episodes' of the game is saved automatically, as is your score (which can be logged on a global table), and you get, as far as I can tell, infinite continues as well, so it's really not too bad. There are also a number of special power-ups, such as energy shields or an enemy freeze, to help you on your way. This relatively tame difficulty was a little unexpected - so many shmups are near impossible these days, at least for untalented oafs like me - but it was also very welcome

This, if you hadn't guessed, is a boss. Eeeek!
I suppose much of this appeal, for me at least, is down to the game's ultra-retro-ish style. There's a top quality soundtrack courtesy of Kubatko as well as some superb arcadey effects, and the colourful sprites are fantastic. Their classic designs are hardly original but they still look great, especially in their variety of luminous, glowy colours. There are even occasional cut-scenes which include information from Commander Norton about upcoming hazards, bold threats from Supercreep, and witty comebacks from Max Blaster which all add to the significant charm Radiant possesses. All this, combined with the simple (and therefore usable) controls, has made for possibly the most enjoyable mobile gaming sessions I've yet experienced. A wonderful little blaster that I urge all retro-heads to check out.

RKS Score: 9/10



  1. I purchased it because of this review :D

  2. Wow, I hope you're happy with it? :) I certainly am, I love games like this.