With its cloud-city levels, massive space transports, and iconic white-and-red coloured fighters, there's little doubt that Alpha Squadron owes a massive debt to the Star Wars series.
It's not just visual themes that connect the game to George Lucas's magnum opus, but also the fact that it feels like a spiritual successor to the wildly successful Rogue Squadron series, which appeared on the N64 and GameCube a few years back.
Strapped into your rugged and dependable fighter jet, you're given a set of mission objectives ranging from protecting transports and taking down enemy vessels to generally destroying every threat in sight.
Intergalactic dog-fighting is very much the order of the day. Hostile ships - which look a lot like TIE Fighters from a distance - will dutifully fly in fixed patterns practically begging you to lock onto their rear thrusters and fill them full of laser death. Red five, standing by
The touch-based controls work well generally, and make it easy to track targets and take them down with extreme prejudice.
The only niggle is when you engage your ship's afterburners. While this gives you an all-important speed boost, it makes your ship difficult to control. Also, some of the missions call for you to fly down very narrow passageways - something which would be taxing even with the best touchscreen interface in the world.
From a purely visual perspective, Alpha Squadron simply cannot be faulted. Once you've gotten over the shamelessly derivative ship and location designs (this is practically a Star Wars game in all but name) you're greeted with some strikingly attractive 3D.
If you're playing on a powerful phone (we reviewed the game on a Nexus 4) then the speed and smoothness of the experience is quite impressive.The force is strong in this one
The audio is slightly less successful, largely because it's clear that the developer has taken pre-existing tunes rather than composing its own. The samples are actually quite scratchy and low-quality, and while they're suitably epic they seem at odds with the high standard of the game's graphics.
Although it suffers from some easily avoidable faults, Alpha Squadron still manages to call to mind the intense dog-fighting action of the Rogue Squadron series. Fans of that franchise - and space combat in general - will be able to look past the slightly erratic controls and dodgy music and enjoy the game for what it is.