To say 2079 is a retro shooter isn't entirely accurate. There's really nothing all that nostalgic about the gameplay and the graphics are as current as any game circulating the App Store right now. The reason it comes across as being a bit vintage is the unavoidable comparison to the DS reimagining of Geometry Wars - a comparison 2079 is going to have to live with.
This is very much a clone, but being the hopelessly addicted gamers we all are we're quite aware that it's not always a bad thing. Given how great a job 2079 does of re-engineering the top-down shooter, we're more than happy to lose hours of our lives to it.
At first glance, the screen seems a little constricted. Your ship is confined to a square are on the left hand side of the display, but this is to make room for the thumb controls on the right. After a good few hours at the helm of this dynamic little ship, you'll agree that the valuable touchscreen real estate has been divided up appropriately.
The ship itself is controlled using the accelerometer, and that's the game's first strength. 2079 uses an on-the-fly calibration for the tilt controls. At the beginning of each game, the system measures exactly how you're holding the handset, and sets this position as neutral.
The benefit here is that you can play with the handset flat on the table, or while laying down in bed or hanging upside down from a BDSM love swing - the ship will always be centred on the screen without you having to go through any repeated calibration.
And, if your gimp should happen to let you down from the swing mid-game, tapping the calibrate button centres the ship at any time. The result is an unerringly reliable control system, which you'll definitely need once the action heats up. No easy ramp up the action here - enemies assault you in aggressive style.
Indeed, if it has a fault it's that the screen becomes overloaded a little too quickly. Your right thumb controls the direction of your defensive fire as you tilt the handset around to pilot your vessel. It's a tad jarring at first, like patting your head and rubbing your belly, but after a few short games you'll begin to tilt and touch in harmony.
A host of upgrades appears about the screen, such as increased fire power and extra lives, and chasing them down will cost you more ships than most are worth. It adds a significant degree of tension and action to the game, though, and prevents you from sitting still and shooting in circles.
You can play with the screen zoomed in (the camera pans after you in this mode) or zoomed out to full - and that's about as far as the options go. It's a very simple game, but that's very much to its credit and ensures that the core gameplay remains accessible throughout.
If you're a fan of Geometry Wars (and who isn't) then 2079 has a lot to offer and pushes the iPhone into the arcade realm quite superbly.