Hands on with Imangi's twin stick alien shooter Max Adventure

When Mars attacks

Hands on with Imangi's twin stick alien shooter Max Adventure
| Max Adventure

The twin-stick shooter is becoming the action genre for touchscreen devices. After the survival blast of Minigore, the achievements fest of Pirate's Treasure and the story romp of Guerrilla Bob comes the cute free roaming of Max Adventure.

The latest game from Harbor Master developer Imangi Studios, it's the story of a small town boy dealing with an alien invasion in the only way he knows how - with a blaster gun.

Homeland security

Levels are split between collection missions in which you have to roam around the picket fences of town, saving your class mates, and elimination efforts where you have to wipe out all that alien scum.

Whichever you're playing, the aliens will suddenly appear, dropping down in pods and spawning until you've taken out each pod in turn. The common-or-garden aliens are green blobs with big teeth that explode in a purple mess. Some look more like mini versions of the striders from Half Life 2, while others are strange glove-type creatures.

The game's controls are simple and tight, as you'd expect from a twin-sticker, while in keeping with the game's pick up and play nature each pod you dispatch drops a power-up, such as invincibility or triple firepower.

Good to gun

Your basic activity is move and shoot.

A mini map shows you the position of aliens and of your objectives, while there are plenty of nice incidental touches on show, such as water hydrants which you can blow up into fountains of water, and cars that explode.

So Max Adventure looks like it's shaping up to be another enjoyable twin-stick shooter for iPhone and iPad, as it will be a universal app.

It also promises to be a bit different from what's come before thanks to its more casual feel - also shown in the colourful art style - as well as a story arc that will see Max having to deal with the alien leader and the local high school's mean girl Lizzie and her jock boyfriend Chad.

There's still plenty of work to be done before its end of July release, though, notably exactly how many levels will ship with the initial release.

As is the case with many developers, Imangi is weighing up whether to release a big and relatively expensive game or a more cut-down, cheaper experience in which further levels will be supplied via update or in-app purchase.

In the meantime, check out the first video footage released.

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Jon Jordan
Jon Jordan
A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon can turn his hand to anything except hand turning. He is editor-at-large at which means he can arrive anywhere in the world, acting like a slightly confused uncle looking for the way out. He likes letters, cameras, imaginary numbers and legumes.