iPhone App Video Review: Steambirds: Survival

by Andrew Koziara

Everyone’s favorite turn-based World War II dogfighter is back in Steambirds: Survival. Spryfox, the original creators of Steambirds (the flash game series, not the original iOS game by Semi Secret Software), have teamed up with Halfbrick Studios of Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride fame to bring us this new entry in the series, which makes tons of improvements to the formula.

This turned based strategy game puts you in the cockpit of various World War II themed planes as you fight off enemy aircraft. Rather than have every enemy appear at once, they now come in waves. This adds a looming threat as you never know what the next enemy wave will consist of or when they’ll strike. There are currently eight cities to fight in, each with their own set of planes. Each time you start a game, you’re given a specific objective to complete, which can vary from surviving a certain number of waves or killing a certain number of enemies. This helps keep the experience fresh and interesting. You can stay and fight to the death after completing an objective for extra copper, the game’s currency. Copper is used to buy ally planes and unlock new cities.

The gameplay is simple yet engaging. You choose all the moves for your planes at once before ending the turn, which causes every piece on the board to move at the same time. Planes automatically shoot each other whenever they’re in the line of sight. Power-ups are now randomly collected on the board after being dropped by downed enemies, rather than each plane having a specific set of abilities at the start of a battle. There is a lot more variety to the power ups, too. This game is loads of fun when you have three planes out at a time. Keeping track of each plane, which abilities they’ve picked up, and using abilities intelligently and strategically makes for an interesting experience.

The games visuals are sharper than ever, and the soundtrack is surprisingly awesome. The game has 64 missions at the moment, with new missions on the way, eventually totaling up to 120. Both Game Center and OpenFeint achievements and leaderboards are supported. Best of all, the game is totally free. The banner advertisements were acting buggy, and removed in a recent update. You can still, however buy out of them with an in-app purchase of three dollars, which will also unlock every city. While you’re at it, you can buy various amounts of copper in-app as well. You can easily unlock everything without purchases if you’re willing to work for them, and the game doesn’t try to force you into buying anything by making the game unfair. This is an all-around excellent strategy game that anyone can enjoy.

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