| Arcadius

Here's a handy 'geek test' for you. If ever in conversation with someone you suspect might be a little bit techy, drop Radiant Silvergun into the chat and observe their reaction keenly.

If they begin to wax lyrical about the lost art of the shoot-'em-up, moving sharply on to how the Saturn 'deserved better' and how Ikaruga 'never really lived up to the highs of its predecessor', you've struck gold.

Even if those words mean nothing to you, they are exhibits A, B, and C when it comes to uncovering a shoot-'em-up fan, and most of these specimens are equipped with speedier reaction times than Usain Bolt on the 100m start line.

That's in a no way a slight against their character, of course, but the competitive nature of many shoot-'em-ups does make them a particularly unaccommodating beast for newcomers.

Shooting central

Arcadius, however, has no such designs on alienation.

Though those very same shoot-'em-up fans might just find HandyGames's offering a touch tame, Arcadius sets itself out as the perfect introduction to the genre for the green and, to its credit, manages to be somewhat entertaining in the process.

The design of the levels is certainly simpler that many shoot-'em-ups. You guide your ship around the screen using the number keys, with the game firing your weapons automatically at any foe that crosses your path.

Surviving long enough to take down a set number of a specific ship is what Arcadius tends to revolve around. Success – as in most shoot-'em-ups – relies on your ability to dodge their fire by snaking around the screen in quick time.

Trick and treat

What makes Arcadius more palatable is that it manages to flood play with enemies without making each and every level a minefield. Not all of the ships fire at you, for starters, with the game holding back the real challenges for the boss battles that sandwich each venue.

Indeed, Arcadius is a shoot-'em-up that wants you to play on and on and on.

With power-ups dropped generously, increasing both your range and rate of fire, the game systematically ups your abilities in line with its difficulty, making play appear like it's getting harder, even if it isn't.

Either way, there's no denying that the resulting package is entertaining. Even if shoot-'em-up supremos find it somewhat stale, there's reason enough for the rest of us to engage with Arcadius.


A suitable introduction to the shoot-'em-up genre, Arcadius manages to serve up entertainment aplenty without being all too difficult from the off
Keith Andrew
Keith Andrew
With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font. He's also Pocket Gamer's resident football gaming expert and, thanks to his work on, monitors the market share of all mobile OSes on a daily basis.