Have you ever tried attacking someone with only a shield at hand? As every great warrior know – Games Workshop employee, even – you can't win a war by only bulking up your defences. Every successful campaign has a fine balance between the offence and defence. It doesn't matter whether you're fighting in a field in France in 1914 or in some galaxy far, far away – the rule remains.
Blue Attack! sequesters offence, making its colourful war between red and blue a matter of constant aggression. It's your aim to smash apart the invaders before they reach your base. You're accompanied by a squad of wingman (wingmen?), which can be upgraded and expanded with each passing level.
The whole affair takes a top-down perspective, allowing you to direct your units towards enemies highlighted by arrows at the edges of the screen. Since your fighters automatically fire, all you worry about is navigation. Control can be handled in one of two ways: tilt or touch. By default, you're prompted to use the accelerometer but you can switch to using the touchscreen.
Most of the enemy ships are easily destructible. Their outer bodies have an organic, almost flora-like nature, consisting of leafy shapes and spheres that shatter after just a few seconds of shooting. These outer shells, however, aren't important; rather, its the ship's core that you want. The sullen face at the core of every enemy is the key to your success. Shooting this down results in a massive explosion that tends to wipe out the rest of the ship in one single blow.
A similar reaction can be achieved by dropping a bomb. You're limited to just five to begin with, but like everything you can replenished your stock via points earned at the end of each level. Blue Attack! is the classic example of a game that ramps up its challenges and rewards evenly, providing a constant, yet accessible challenge. Even the upgrades themselves can be taken out of your hands if you so wish; automatic upgrades allow those who prefer a hands-off approach to slide through each level with little fuss.
It's questionable, though, just how long Blue Attack! can entertain. Though beautifully presented and straightforward, it is something of a one-trick pony. The menacing, yet slightly lifeless foes doing nothing more than creep towards your base, again and again.
That is, perhaps, the result of splitting up defence and attack by putting them in two separate packages. Blue Attack! has a very specific, single-minded appeal that doesn't offer much variety. That's fine for those who are after this kind of solitary experience or those who also shell out on John Kooistra's other game, but not enough to expand Blue Attack! beyond its limited reach.
Segmenting war does break up the magic formula just a little, even if it still looks marvellous. With each passing level that marvel does wither away given the game's limited scope, but Blue Attack! will nevertheless keep the dedicated firing long enough to see it through, whether in victory or defeat.