| BulletAsylum

Hey there, Windows Phone user. Looking for something to show those iPhone and Android-owning buddies of yours what your phone can do? You might want to give the relentless arcade shmup BulletAsylum a spin.

Dodonpachi Maximum, ilomilo, The Harvest, Rocket Riot - the list of exclusive eye-candy on Windows Phone is a distinguished yet rather short one. BulletAsylum makes a showy attempt to join this list, but lacks the guts to see it through.

Bangs for your bucks

As we've seen from the aforementioned Dodonpachi Maximum, neon-soaked shoot-'em-ups can work well on a 4-inch touchscreen.

BulletAsylum certainly fits this description, but rather than manoeuvring a space craft around with your finger you're directing the fire of an entrenched gun emplacement as relentless waves of alien attacks rain down on you.

A direct hit on one of your-spread out gun turrets means one less stream of bullets (or lasers, or explosives) tearing through enemy hide. There's an interesting trade-off at play here, as the more turrets you have the bigger the target you present.

Unfortunately, any subtlety is drowned out in the din of some rather repetitive action.

Bangs for your bucks

After a while the constant onslaught of BulletAsylum's action becomes wearisome. While the type of enemies you face is quite varied - from swooping fighters to nimble bombers and on to hulking capital ships - the way in which you dispatch them is not.

Touching the screen launches everything you have at that point, and with the screen soon filling up with targets things rapidly descend into frantic screen-rubbing. We like how you can bring a second finger into play and split your fire, but ultimately this just means double the number of sore digits at the end of play.

There's a neat RPG-lite system at play in two of the game's three modes (Survival gives you everything from the off), allowing you to gradually spend on upgrades and creep further into the game with each subsequent attempt.

Architect mode even lets you set up your defences first, like a simplistic tower defence game. Still, it's not enough to keep your interest up for much more than an hour or so.

If you're a highscore-chasing sort, or you just want to give your Windows Phone something pretty to play with, BulletAsylum's attractive war of attrition might tempt you in. We suspect, however, that a crucial lack of depth will rule out any protracted last stands.


While technically impressive, BulletAsylum's relentless shoot-'em-up gameplay is too shallow to keep you blasting away for long
Jon Mundy
Jon Mundy
Jon is a consummate expert in adventure, action, and sports games. Which is just as well, as in real life he's timid, lazy, and unfit. It's amazing how these things even themselves out.