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Multiplatform review: new vertical scroller Dragon Bird

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Menneisyys

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U Mobile Game have just released a brand new vertical scroller shooter Dragon Bird for both Windows Mobile (both Pocket PC and Smartphone) and Symbian (both S60v3 and UIQ3).

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Availability

The game is available for download HERE. The trial version has the first two stages unlocked; the full, commercial one all the eight. The latter costs $19.95 for all platforms, which is quite a bit more than the price of SkyForce Reloaded, the, currently, undoubtedly best vertical shooter on both Windows Mobile and Symbian.

Compatibility

I've tested the game (as of the current, 1.0 version) on my VGA HP iPAQ 210 WM6 Windows Mobile classic PDA, WM2003 QVGA HP iPAQ 2210 and the Symbian S60v3 Nokia N95. On the latter two, it ran flawlessly (I've disabled the sound on the iPAQ 2210); on the iPAQ 210, it frequently crashed, necessiating a soft reset (and also losing the credits I've collected in the last one or two games). I don't know whether it's an iPAQ 210-specific issue – while I've run into similar crashes now and then, in other games, on the 210, in no way so frequently as in this case.

Note that, while it's compatible with (touchscreen-less) Windows Mobile Smartphones, it won't run on lower-res 176*220 phones like the HTC s310 (Oxygen), only the higher-res QVGA ones like the HTC s710 / Vox: it just chops off the right / bottom part of the game, it being strictly wired to QVGA devices. (I don't know whether it's also compatible with QVGA landscape models like the Moto Q; I bet it isn't.)

Controllability

On touchscreen-enabled devices like Windows Mobile Pocket PC's, you can entirely rely on the touchscreen. This is pretty good news for future for example HTC Touch Pro HD users, which entirely lacks a D-pad. Note that I haven't tested the game on 2.8" QVGA titles with the infamous touchscreen CPU usage bug, plaguing every single non-XScale-based model HTC has ever released. I bet you'll encounter quite a bit of slowdown / choppyness on these models.

Differences between Dragon Bird and most other games of the genre

Most importantly, Dragon Bird has a different approach to weapon / ship / shield upgrades than other, pickup-based games like SkyForce Reloaded. (Games like Xenon 2 use a hybrid approach: you can both purchase upgrades and pick up some while advancing.) You get no upgrades for free as a pick-up; this means you need to earn money by

1. shooting down as many opponents as possible

2. not exiting the game and not being killed easily (then you get a penalty and lose half of the main boss' credit)

This also means you'll need to play through some levels at least several times to be able to purchase a weapon (or another upgrade) to be able to pass the next. For example, I've found it's impossible to get past the second stage without purhcasing the $25000 triple cannon. In order to be able to purchase this weapon, I had to play through the first level at least three times. The repetitive need to play through the same level can become pretty boring and annoying when compared to, say, SkyForce Reloaded's linear approach not forcing you to do the same.

Enjoyment factor

The game itself, while is technically far inferior to SkyForce Reloaded (far less spectacular or plain non-existing visuals like explosions, much more spectacular 3D effects etc., duller music), has turned out to be pretty entertaining. I, however, don't know whether it's really worth the (quite high) price tag.

Verdict

While the game is definitely inferior to the multiplatform SkyForce Reloaded (and, to a lesser degree, to other, excellent titles like FireHawk and Burning Armor Code-E on Windows Mobile) and is much more expensive, you, if you have already played through the latter and wouldn't want to touch it any more, might still want to give the trial version a try.

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#2
Menneisyys

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The price has just been reduced to $9.95.

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