A lot of shmups on the iPad are ports that were good before they ever got to the iPad. For instance, the absurdly generous War Blade and the epically butt-numbing Battlesquadron One have both wended their way to the iPad from the Amiga..
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More good info, and thank you. I realize I am opening a whole other kettle of fish, but your comment about "skipping the trash mobs and going straight to bosses" made me flash to a scrolling shooter (sic) that I had played on XBLA indie games, and it's going to bug me until I remember the name. But it may also be worth looking into the indie options, because there really are some good ones there even though you do have to dig through a ton of dating games and Minecraft clones to find them.
It's always nice to read when what was being attempted is so completely understood. I like your analytical and honest style of playing, watching, experiencing and writing in this review.
So many of your peers tend to compare or write about everything a game is not, but you really played and experienced Phoenix HD exactly as it has been presented.
Having said that, I certainly don't mind the comparison of my music when you do it to a hero of mine like Vangelis, thanks for a lovely quote!
Ah, you're the composer? Great work, Matthew. It's nice having a soundtrack that doesn't feel like it's trying to make my life harder by making me feel more frantic! :)
I like Wormhole Invaders also. It's not quite the same, but equally good