Game Reviews

Super Cyclone

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| Super Cyclone
Super Cyclone
| Super Cyclone

For all of the innovation and experimentation that occurs on the App Store, a lot of developers are more than happy to fall back on well-established concepts in the hope of scoring a success. And that's no bad thing, as Super Cyclone proves.

At its core, this is your basic twin-stick shooter. The left stick handles movement while the right stick is in charge of the direction of your fire. This means you can move your ship in one direction and blast in the other.

What makes Super Cyclone unique is that the action takes place in a circular playing field, with your vulnerable star gate placed in the middle. It's your job to ensure that no enemy nests (bases that spawn fresh opponents) enter the gate.

Nest egg

Although you're flying around the infinite expanse of space, there's a definite boundary to Super Cyclone's playing arena. This seems jarring at first, but it serves to keep the frantic action contained. You can't outrun opponents because you're effectively walled-in, and this ensures the tension never abates.

The ship you command is surrounded by a protective shield. This recharges quickly as long as you're not taking damage, but it's depleted faster than you might imagine once enemy fire comes raining in. Charging into combat without an exit strategy is sure way to get vapourised.

Your craft has several attack options on offer. The basic plasma shot has unlimited ammo and will deliver a moderate punch to most foes. There are other weapons to toggle between - including spread lasers and powerful ION bolts -but these have a finite number of shots.

Resource management

Thankfully, you can purchase more ammo between missions with cash you've accrued, or wait for additional ammo pick-ups to appear from the star gate.

Seeking missiles are also available, and again these are limited in stock. They're handy for crowd-control, as a single volley is capable of knocking out several aggressors at once.

Your final weapon is possibly the most powerful, but it's also the hardest to use. By double-tapping and holding your finger on the right stick, you can trigger the 'Super Cyclone' mode of your ship. Your craft spins around in a circle, killing indiscriminately over a compact radius.

This tactic becomes vital when you're hemmed-in and being assailed from all sides, but it takes real skill to utilise it correctly, not least because too much spin overheats your ship, and if you overdo it the entire craft is ripped to pieces.

The bigger they are, the harder they fall

As you battle your way through Super Cyclone's multiple missions you'll come face-to-face with progressively nastier enemies.

The nests that spawn alien craft also become smarter and more deadly. Early examples just advance silently towards your star gate, but on later missions the nests fight back with their own weapons.

Picking up glowing orbs dropped by enemies increases your score multiplier, but taking a hit resets it to zero. Gaining a high score is vital to earning three stars on each mission, and your performance also results in cash to spend on ammo and upgrades (although, at the time of writing, these are yet to be added to the game).

While Super Cyclone keeps things pretty basic as far as the action is concerned, it's tightly constructed. The action is natural and flowing, and you never feel as if you're fighting with the controls as much as you are with the unfriendly xenomorphs who want you dead.

Granted, it doesn't take long for repetition to creep in, but the same criticism could be levelled at any twin-stick shooter. The difficulty ramps up nicely and the action becomes ever more engaging as each level falls, so trigger-happy shoot addicts should find a lot to like here.

Super Cyclone

This twin-stick space shooter offers addictive and compelling blasting action that is almost certain to enthral fans of the genre, although the inevitable repetition of the gameplay does dull its impact a little
Damien  McFerran
Damien McFerran
Damien's mum hoped he would grow out of playing silly video games and gain respectable employment. Perhaps become a teacher or a scientist, that kind of thing. Needless to say she now weeps openly whenever anyone asks how her son's getting on these days.