Previously released to significant fanfare on the Nintendo 3DS, Liberation Maiden is a suitably Japanese take on the shooter genre.
You assume the role of a mech-riding heroine who is seeking to defend her homeland from encroaching hostile forces. The brainchild of legendary Japanese game designer Suda 51, it's typically polished stuff - but the 3DS version wasn't without its problems.
Those same problems have been carried over to the iOS port, with the added issue of having to deal with ill-suited touchscreen controls.Lock-on, Tommy
At its heart, Liberation Maiden mimics the likes of Rez and Panzer Dragoon, pitting you against hordes of enemies and equipping you with lock-on lasers and other weapons. You can move in 360 degrees, and there's a special 'strafe' button that allows you to circle opponents for maximum damage.
This tactic proves essential when facing the 'lesser' and 'great' spikes - node-like protrusions bristling with lasers - which represent the game's boss fights.
Good news first - the game has received a visual upgrade over the 3DS edition: the jump in resolution makes things look a lot better, and actually makes it easier to discern what's going on amid the chaos - something that wasn't always possible in the Nintendo version.
However, the substitution of physical controls for a touchscreen interface makes Liberation Maiden irksome to adapt to on iOS. There's just too much going on in some of the later stages, and before long it becomes abundantly clear that this isn't a game which has been developed with such a control system in mind.Short but not sweet
Another big problem with Liberation Maiden is the brevity of the experience - you'll whip through the stages in the space of a day or two, and there's little reason to return after that unless you're keen to try the different difficulty levels or unlock all the in-game artwork.
It's such a shame that this is the case, because this is one of the best-looking games on the App Store. The animated cut-scenes positively drip with class, and while the fully-voice dialogue can sometimes grate it's well delivered and adds to the sense of scale.
Sadly, Liberation Maiden is a classic case of style over substance: it has the look, but it can't back it up with anything that really matters.