Taking advantage of an incredible mobile 3-D engine, Heli Strike 3-D is a basic vertical shooter crammed into a gorgeous package. Limited play time, options, and variety make it a difficult game to justify in terms of its price, but if you’re looking to show off what a phone can do visually, they don’t get better than this.
Controlling the stereotypical super helicopter, players take on three different terrains in their quest to destroy a nuclear missile site. As expected, the enemy isn’t too happy with this plan, and decides to counter said helicopter with forces of their own. These come in few varieties, including boats, towers, jets, and helicopters. Three bosses are repeated at the end of the terrain.
The smooth graphics engine offers precise control, necessary since the player is a rather large model. There are no special bombs or attacks. The machine gun-like weapon can be powered up multiple times, and remains the only form of offense power. A rarity with vertical shooters, moving towards the top of the screen speeds up the scrolling, also important since many sections don’t contain enemies.
Each foe follows the same pattern of its predecessor, so if you’ve seen one jet, you’ve seen them all. The challenge comes from homing missiles, easily identified by a transparent white streak. Standard bullets offer only minor resistance in later levels, and the damage meter is generous.
One single music track is repetitive in long sessions, though the beefy explosions and a couple of nicely added voice samples do break the monotony. It’s appropriate though, as the entire Heli Strike experience is built on repetition. Those wonderfully rendered levels come at a price. You’ll play each three times for a total of nine stages. Total game time is under an hour.
The complete lack of weapon variety is a downer, and the lack of different enemies means no change in strategy. Only the background changes, and there’s no interaction with it. That said, the core shooting mechanics are fine, and the satisfying glow when a foe goes down is satisfying. The only replay value is created by gaining medals for each stage, though these don’t earn anything new regardless of how you rank.
The 3-D graphics aside, you don’t get much from Heli Stike for its absurdly high $11 asking price. The rock solid frame rate and colorful visuals are purely for show, though how many people actually run around touting their phone's ability to render games would hopefully hover around zero. It’s mild, short fun for old school shooter fans that should only be purchased for a discounted price.Powered by Sidelines