Nov 20, 2009

Black Shark II: Siberia

Black Shark II: Siberia from HeroCraft is a side scroller that doesn't really do anything new, but is still quite enjoyable to play. The screen automatically scrolls from left to right and you control moving your Black Shark II helicopter up, down, left, and right while destroying the enemy targets which consists of men, tanks, missiles ...etc. Firing is automatic and you can also drop bombs with a screen button press. In fact, I'd say Black Shark II really wouldn't stand out to me if it weren't for the under crowded gaming market for the Android. However, while this game and genre could certainly do better, Black Shark II has kept me coming back from more (and my review copies are not free... I'm buying all of these games based on their own merit and my money).

I was first introduced to HeroCraft as they released a boatload of new demos to the Android Marketplace about two days ago. Apparently they've been making games for a lot of J2ME type devices for quite a while and thus the Android is an easy market for them to target. I tried some of their others titles and wasn't terribly impressed whether usually quitting from boredom or technical glitches, however, this title stood out. No graphical glitches, force feedback support, decent sound, and entertaining game play. One of the things that struck me about most, if not all, of the HeroCraft games is the arrangement of buttons on the left and right side of the screen. I know those are for use if you don't have a keyboard, but it would be nice to be able to turn those off if I'm not using the screen as my main control.

On my Droid the helicopter controls make good use of the DPad for left, right, up, and down and the screen button for dropping a bomb works fine although it would be nice to be able to use a keyboard key for that. It may still be possible and I just haven't found how to configure that, but I've been through every option on the menu and it sure isn't intuitive.

The game is divided into several levels and as you fly your copter it auto-fires. Flying left or right also tilts your chopper allowing you to fire up at the sky or down at ground targets, but you have to time it right given the lack of a fire button. Thankfully when it comes to dropping bombs there's a button for that. Bombs can be used to take out larger vehicles. As you fly and fire on enemy targets they're busy peppering you with fire and you'll have to avoid this or be shot down. After making it through a level you'll be able to buy add-ons for your chopper whether they be improved offensive or defensive capabilities. The graphics are decent as is the sound, and the game also features on on-line scoreboard.

In my quest for good Android games this is currently my favorite side scrolling shooter. It offers solid control and enjoyable game play, but, as stated, doesn't really do anything special for the genre and I suspect that it'll be succeeded pretty quickly. In the meantime, it only costs about $3 and that's a bargain in the entertainment industry.

1 comment:

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