Monday, 19 March 2012

PC Game Review - UfoPilo: The Phadt Menace - Special Edition

UfoPilot: The Phadt Menace – Special Edition is a cavern rescue game in which you pilot your ship through dangerous caverns, rescuing prisoners and returning to the mothership in one piece (at least, that's the plan). There are two game modes - “Classic”, in which you need to complete enough rescues to finish the level and have land and sky-based enemies to contend with, and “Time Attack Mode”, where you have no enemies and have time simply rescue everyone in the fastest time possible (which is then posted on the online high score table). I'm mainly going to talk about the Classic gameplay, as it's a lot more fun and challenging.

The prisoners are held in, as you might have already sussed, prisons. These only take one shot to destroy, but if you're trigger-happy you might end up setting prisoners on fire – you can still rescue them, but only if you're quick enough. Enemy fire and the fiery residue of certain enemy ships exploding can also set these poor guys and gals on fire, so care is needed, especially on levels which have prisons and plentiful enemies in close proximity. Along the way you can of course pick up power-ups such as homing missiles, bombs and a “bounce” weapon – which can be tremendously useful, but if used wrongly you could end up doing more damage to yourself than the enemy. You can also collect money to upgrade your ship – weapons, armour, engine, targeting etc – often you have to go hunting remote corners of the map to find the money.

Being close enough to the mothership to transfer prisoners also replenishes your shields and keeps you protected from attack until the transfer is complete – this is just as well since you often have ships swooping in to attack you (these guys look like the Recognizers from TRON!). The game gets fast and frantic at times, but there are other periods of playing that require more thoughtful approach, precise controls and a definite strategy (that said, bashing your ship into the cavern walls only produces a small amount of damage, or the game would be much more difficult than it is). It's no pushover in the later stages though and levels can take quite a while to complete. There's a reasonable amount of replay value too, and obviously once more people start playing the game, there'll be a bit of competition to get into the top ten of the high score table.

Graphically the game is fine – very retro, things can be a little too small to see clearly at times but there are some quite impressive explosions and suchlike to make up for that – mostly the gameplay is intuitive and the displays give you what you need to know at a glance, one you get used to it and know instinctively what you're actually looking for. The sound effects are okay, some work better than others, but overall the sound in this game is great because there are a number of brilliant tracks to back up the action.

While a few more levels would have been nice and again I'm not entirely sure about the price point of $9.99, UfoPilot: The Phadt Menace – Special Edition is a quality game that will keep you playing for a fair while. It demands skill and concentration without being stupidly difficult, and is certainly an enjoyable retro gaming experience. If you're not sure you can always try out the free demo.

UfoPilot: The Phadt Menace – Special Edition was developed by nornware AB and is available through BeamDog.

If you like this kind of game then you'll definitely also want to check out the indie game Gravity Core.

System Requirements:

Required System Memory (MB) 256 MB
Minimum Graphics Direct X 9.0c shader model 2
Processor Speed (GHz) 2.0 GHz

See also: UfoPilot: Astro-Creeps Elite Review

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1 comment:

johno said...

Hi all!

Thanks again for a great review!

We've slashed the price of this title down to $6.99. Enjoy!

/the nornware team

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