Star Horizon ($4) is a new space shooter from Tabasco Interactive. A graphically impressive game, Star Horizon puts players into the ship of space fighter pilot. The on-rails shooter supports iOS controllers.
Star Horizon certainly looks like a premium title. With nice, clear graphics and an impressive frame rate, it looks like everything you’d want out of a space shooter. Your ship dips and turns on a predetermined track as you pass by larger ships and fire upon enemies — sometimes you’ll take one out and zoom by the wreckage.
Controls in Star Horizon are simple and intuitive. Swiping with your right thumb moves the ship across the screen, and a quick swipe will make the ship do a barrel roll dodge. The left side of the screen features three weapons – a basic blaster, powerful plasma rockets, and swarm rockets, which launch in threes. The latter two weapons need to recharge before firing. Aiming is semi-automatic — players need to guide their ship into position to fire before locking on.
So, the game gets off to a good start. Nice graphics, solid gameplay. But Star Horizon misses the mark in a number of key areas. Too often, we didn’t feel like we had enough control of what was actually happening. Getting hit from offscreen shots without any idea of where they were coming from, unable to defend, is not our idea of a good time. It often feels like most damage comes from an offscreen area, and players can do nothing about it.
The game’s difficulty increases considerably in just the second level, and again, it doesn’t seem fair. While defending the mothership, we killed dozens and dozens of enemies only to be informed the ship was destroyed. It was unclear at the moment how we could have stopped it. But to play the same level over again — enduring minutes of mindless shooting — felt like a chore. Players fire their stronger weapons, and fire their blaster while waiting for those stronger weapons to recharge, over and over again. The lack of depth becomes apparently pretty early.
One notable feature in Star Horizon gives players have the ability to make decisions that will affect their path in the game, though we wonder who will care enough to go back and make different choices to see the differences. The storyline is otherwise about as generic as it can get. If you’re a big fan of space shooters, you might want to give Star Horizon a look. Otherwise, there are far more rewarding $4 game experiences in the App Store.
iLounge Rating: C+