iFighter Lite Lightning Review: Accelerator Controls Rock

It's my favourite iPhone game and it's not even available in full yet: iFighter—inspired in games like 1941—has surprised me, showing that the accelerometer can be used to perfectly control complex shoot 'em up games.

I saw this game in the Top 25 free applications section of the iTunes Store and I downloaded it thinking it was going to be bad. After all, every arcade game I've tried in the iPhone has been horrible. Not having physical controls is a real drag when it comes to control platformers and complex shoot 'em ups. Especially shoot 'em ups like this, where you are fired dozens of bullets from every single direction. Without a D-pad, I thought, it would be impossible to do it right. However, I like WW2 games and I loved Capcom's 1941: Counter Attack. And it looked pretty and was free, so I downloaded it.

And oh boy I'm glad I did. The game may not be finished yet—it's only one level—but it's incredibly well polished and pretty. Most importantly, it shows how you can implement accelerometer-based controls for these kind of games and get it right. At first I tried touch controls, but those are not good. I then tried motion, which is the one you want to use. It works amazingly well—calibrate it first—allowing you to dodge enemy fire with maximum precision. You can also lightly tap at the bottom of the screen to fire more quickly—the game comes with auto-fire on by default, but it's too slow—but that doesn't make the control of the plane difficult at all.

Now I can only hope other iPhone/touch developers work in their controls like these guys, opening the way to old-style games that don't depend on imprecise software-based touch D-pads. iFighter Life addictive. I can't wait for them to release the full version.

The motion-based control is great and allows for surprisingly precise motion.

Great retro graphics and effects.

[iTunes Store]

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