Point and shoot. Is there a simpler concept for a game? But of course, even the most simple concepts can be a challenge.
In Tail Gunner, an app designed by Dreadnought Design, you’re in control of the rear gun turret of a bomber flying over a ravaged 1940’s Europe. Game play involves two things; tilting the iPhone with one hand in order to aim, and touching the screen to target and shoot enemy planes. While I won’t necessarily back up the claim that “it’s like the iPhone is reading your mind,” the reaction is pretty smooth. I found moving from side to side relatively easy, while tilting up and down in order to shoot a plane was a little more difficult. (Of course, this could easily speak more of my poor gaming skills than game design.)
I really enjoyed how the actual shooting works. For one thing, you can tap anywhere on the screen, rather than finding a specific icon. For another, targeting is simple, as you will automatically lock in on whatever plane is nearest to the crosshair. Touch the screen and keep your finger there to target, and when you have the plane locked in the game automatically shoots and they’re down. You can release your aim and go for another plane by taking your finger off of the screen.
A quick note: The game’s graphics are automatically set to Low, which you can change by going into Options from the main menu and switching them over to High. The graphics are quite good, and the music is dramatically cinematic, which is fun.
There are twelve levels to this game, each of which is progressively more difficult, and the scenery is the same on each level. A small, transparent plane icon at the bottom tracks your lives (you get four on each level), which the top two corners let you see how much time you have left on your mission, as well as your score. I wouldn’t mind seeing a pause or menu option in the game, as the only way to stop before the clock runs out is to exit the app completely.
Overall, at $0.99 this app has a sophisticated design recommended for anyone who enjoys a good shoot ’em up game.
Tail Gunner requires iPhone OS 2.2.1 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.