The App Store is this generation's amusement arcade. It's a place that's brimming with games, most of which you can have play for less than the price of a mid-range sandwich from your local sandwich emporium.

It seems only fitting, then, that SNK Playmore is releasing some of its coin-op back catalogue for smartphones and tablets. Metal Slug 3 arrived recently, and now it's closely followed by Blazing Star.

Press star to continue

The game is a side-scrolling shooter that sees you piloting one of six different spaceships, each of which has its own strengths, weaknesses, and style of attack. Pressing two buttons at the bottom-right of the screen lets you fire, and sliding a finger around the screen moves you around.

There's not quite the rhythmic pattern-dodging of a bullet-hell title here, but the action is still fast and furious, with each of the seven levels escalating the ferocity and persistence of the alien threat you're trying to shoot into tiny pieces.

A single hit loses a life, and you only have three lives per credit. Power-up orbs add extra bullets to your already impressively powered weapons system, and floating blue jewels add more points to your tally at the end of each level.

Definitely r type

In an interesting twist, bosses have time limits as well as health bars. If you don't manage to kill one before your time runs out, it escapes, and while you still move on to the next stage you don't get the fat bucket of points you would have otherwise.

The only real problem with the game is the controls. Sliding your finger around the screen works well enough, but sometimes you'll find your hand obscuring the action, and in a game as tough as this that's inevitably fatal.

It's a minor niggle, though, and with some practice you'll be weaving through the hails of bullets and robots with the best of them.

If app stores are the arcades of this generation, then Blazing Star is the equivalent of the machine in the corner that the hardened veterans congregate around, dropping in coin after coin as they inch their way up the leaderboards. This is addictive shooting at its very best.

iOS version reviewed.