App Army Assembles - Is Black Paradox future fun or stuck in the past?

| Black Paradox
App Army Assembles - Is Black Paradox future fun or stuck in the past?

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We made a big fuss of Black Paradox when it came out - it was our featured game of the week, and it turned out we backed the right horse. We ended up giving it our Gold Award in the review, after all.

But what do we know? We're just some fools running a website about mobile games. So we decided to give our community of mobile gaming fanatics, the App Army, their hands on the game as well.

You can read their reviews below, but we know what you really want - your own chance of getting the best and latest games for absolutely naught beyond giving us a review.

Well you can! Just join our App Army over on Facebook (make sure to answer the short questions given to you!) and each week you'll have a shot at playing a big game of that week.

And better yet, you can chat about mobile games with other fans of the platform, make some friends, and get some wonderful, stimulating conversation in your life.

Sound good? Then go join the App Army! And come right back to read the reviews of Black Paradox!

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Roman Valerio - iPad Air

Black Paradox features grinding in its pure form and in this respect can be recommended only to extremely patient gamers - I am not one of them.

For the time being I've dedicated about an hour to this fast-paced rogue-lite shoot'em up and have very little to brag about: two unlocked slots with elementary chips, about 8000 of in-game currency, and just one defeated boss.

Grinding aside, this title looks, sounds and plays perfectly. The pixelated graphics adds a certain retro feel, which is in no small measure created by a synthwave soundtrack too. The touch controls work flawlessly on my ancient device with no lagging at all. The gameplay is hardcore and fun at the same time: upgrades, tons of weapons, powerful opponents and deadly bosses. What else could you wish for?

Oh, I forgot to tell you that each time you lose you have to start from the very beginning every single time, which could give pleasure only to the fans of masochistic gaming, I guess.

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Steve Clarke

I love Black Paradox yet I hate it too, a bit of a… contradiction, no?

Now I’ve saved you some awful wordplay, let's talk gameplay. Black Paradox is a huge amount of fun. It's the first roguelike bullet hell game I've played and it's set a high bar for any that follow. The procedurally generated levels work 95% of the time, but every so you’ll engage a new wave of enemies whose combined attacks, coupled with the asteroids pinging around the screen, make survival night on impossible.

Luckily the lovingly rendered retro graphics are so pretty, the frustration is offset by how beautiful your death is. The synth soundtrack deserves a mention here too - it's phenomenal for a mobile game and I'd consider buying it separately.

The only thing that drags Black Paradox down a peg is the balancing. Some of the weapon upgrades are worse than your starting gun, health drops can be overly generous or ridiculously sparse, and earning the cash for upgrades feels a bit too grindy. The devs are actively addressing these issues however, releasing and update in the last week.

I'd highly recommend getting Black Paradox, you'll hate it but you'll fall in love at the same time.

Makk Short

I'm loving the retro graphics/music! It's kind of hard (maybe I'm just not as good at these types of games).

I am enjoying it though and recommend it to anybody that loves old school shooters.

Mark Abukoff - iPhone 7

This is another retro arcade experience that nails the look and sound of the classics very well, using a spaceship that looks surprisingly like a certain Delorean to really nail the 80s vibe. I like that.

The gameplay is simple. I really like the look of it. But it's got a couple of downsides.

First off, I read that it is supposed to be MiFi compatible. And that's true - to an extent. I was easily able to use my Nimbus Steel Series controller to navigate the game's menus. But there was no option to use the controller to fire or move, and in-game, the controller was non-responsive. So, not much help.

And quite honestly, the difficulty seems to ramp up pretty quickly. The description includes "rogue-like" so I expected to die a few times, and granted, that was always part of the deal with those wonderful arcade games. But I have to admit to a bit of frustration at lasting about thirty or forty seconds per life at first.

A bit more time spent on it, a bit more practice, and a bit more stubbornness finally saw me collecting bounties on the most-wanted list, but ultimately, as a paid arcade shooter, this doesn't stand out to me.

If you get a lot of enjoyment out of it, more power to you. I'm not saying it's a waste of time or money, but so far it hasn't brought enough new to the genre for me to recommend paying for it.

Karl Nuttall

Loaded the game up on my XR heard the 80's music I wasn't expecting anything special. Started the intro and was impressed with the look and sound of the game.

The pixelated graphics are very good and the gameplay I thought was excellent - the difficulty is ramped up quickly, but I thought it wasn't enough to put you off playing, but keep you coming back. To be honest didn't get that far without dying but kept going back for more and glad I didn't give up on it. You can upgrade the stats of your car and get different weapons/power ups for it.

I would say this is possibly my favourite shoot 'em up on my iPhone, and I haven't really got any complaints or negatives about the game. I definitely recommend this.

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Brian Wigington - iPad, 5th Generation

I have always enjoyed shooters and Black Paradox is no exception. I love the retro music and enjoy the challenging but mostly fair difficulty.

The pixel aesthetic looks great and really works here. The upgrade system is awesome and really does feel a bit like a rogue-lite game. Also, the procedurally generated content give the game a fresh feel pretty much every play through. I actually enjoy a good grinding game every once in a while and it works well in the game.

I can highly recommend Black Paradox as long as you love shooters and grinding away to get those sweet upgrades.

Leonidas Konstantopoulos - iPhone SE

Black Paradox doesn't reinvent the wheel and it's not a bad thing. It is a randomly generated shmup with great touch controls and weapon variety, so you can expect high replay value. However, the art is what truly sets it apart from other games of the genre, especially the quirky design of the bosses.

The premise is simple. The coins that you collect during each run can be spent for permanent upgrades to your ship. Add to that the ascending difficulty of the bosses and you have a game that constantly poses a challenge while keeping things fresh for quite a while.

Sure, it may feel a little grindy at times, but for what it is, the difficulty never crosses the line of unfair. It has a good soundtrack with good variety, and overall I consider it a great addition to my iOS library.

Oksana Ryan - iPad Pro

I loved this fast paced game. The retro style, the frantic background music and gorgeous visuals were a treat. As with other games involving vehicles, you upgrade by earning points in battle.

Although it looks a simple game, there’s enough packed into it to make it one of those games where you just want to play ‘one more time’, and half an hour later, you’re still playing.

There’s nothing groundbreaking here but nevertheless, it’s very enjoyable to play and quite addictive. I’d definitely recommend it.

Ed Davis - iPhone 7

I’ve really enjoyed my time with Black Paradox. The retro style of the game feels well placed with the genre.

The controls are simple and are easy to use. Controlling the ship can be very sensitive but that makes it all the easier to manoeuvre out of the way of oncoming fire. Switching between weapons can be a bit clunky as you have to swipe up where you fire the weapons. A virtual button would have been better here I feel.

As you progress through the game, you have the option to upgrade your ship with new and improved gear. A larger screen of an iPad would have been better as my fingers did cover the screen quite substantially which made seeing certain ships difficult.

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Ric Cowley
Ric Cowley
Ric was somehow the Editor of Pocket Gamer, having started out as an intern in 2015. He hopes to take over the world the same way.