Game Reviews


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| Icarus-X
| Icarus-X

On iOS, it’s perfectly possible to drown in hardcore ‘bullet hell’ blasters courtesy of master developers like Cave.

Meanwhile, on Android, you’d probably die of dehydration if it wasn’t for PewPew 2.

Until Cave deigns to port over critical darlings like Espgaluda II and DoDonPachi Resurrection, 'Droid gamers are left with quite pale imitations like Icarus-X.

Publisher The Quadsphere’s vertical shooter looks the part, but in crucial areas like sprite size and, most importantly, controls, it’s nearly always off target.

Tough by design

Although an iOS port under the hood, Icarus-X still manages to catch the eye with its fast action, shiny visuals, and buttery smooth framerate.

The scrolling 3D backgrounds, depicting a range of futuristic towers and tunnels to scale, look particularly sharp (although the lack of any backstory highlights their randomness).

Gameplay is, unsurprisingly, limited to assaulting endless waves of enemy ships - all with swirly attack patterns that need to be learned by rote if you’re to make any substantial progress.

There are two gameplay modes to experiment with in Icarus-X: Classic and Redux.

And aside from a choice of secondary weapons (radial bombs or homing missiles, both of which recharge and are fired with a double tap), there’s really little to distinguish them once all bullet hell breaks loose.

Finger blocking bad

Superficially at least, Icarus-X is a success, but it falters on a few fundamentals that really hinder its long-term appeal.

The enemy craft and your own fighter are far too large and chunky, cramping even the largest screen, while neither of the two control methods really gels on a touchscreen.

The default Relative system, for example, sees you move your ship and auto fire with a digit pressed firmly on top of the vessel.

While this method is infinitely better than the alternative Direct mode - where you tap at areas of the screen to zip straight there and (almost always) into the nearest bullet - your digits constantly block much of the already-cluttered screen.

Icarus-X might deliver on its promise of “fast-paced action” but, thanks to the overfed sprites and wonky controls, it’s unlikely you’ll ever see much of it.


A fair stopgap until Cave finally 'caves' into porting its bullet hell catalogue to Android, but glaring design issues still clip Icarus-X of its shooter wings