Reviewed: April 10, 2010
Released: April 1, 2010
App Store Price: $4.99
Radio Flare REDUX HD is probably one of the more unique games to come out of the iPad launch line-up with a unique hybrid of Tap-Tap rhythm style gaming combined with a retro-style sideways scrolling shooter. There are even some Defender gameplay elements in place, as you must collect the yellow dots left behind by the destroyed enemies.
The concept is as simple as the controls and the gameplay. You have a ship on the left edge of the screen that you can move around with your left finger as enemies spiral and swarm in from the right, top and bottom edges. You must use all your reflexes to not only avoid crashing into these enemies but also shoot them out of the sky by tapping on them or even pressing and holding on some of the more powerful ones. It's very much a traditional shooter in look and design. There is also a virtual stick option, but I found that using it detracts greatly from the overall immersion and synchronicity of music and gameplay.
The graphics are very cool in a slightly urban and retro kind of way. While they sport all sorts of flashy effects and oddly pastel colors (almost like graffiti at times) and some interesting photo-negative effects when you die, they never really achieve a true next-gen clarity or quality, but the art style is intentional so itís forgivable. I must give kudos to the excellent menu system that looks like some high-tech control panel or space map from the starship Enterprise.
Radio Flare REDUX HD really shines in the audio department with unique and expertly mixed licensed techno, club, and house mixes composed by some fairly famous international DJís, if you're into that scene. 33 killer mixes accompany the frantic action on just as many missions, and what makes it even better is that all of the fancy sound effects for shooting and explosions all blend into the primary music so your gameplay sounds become part of the soundtrack just as much as the music dictates the rhythm of your gameplay.
REDUX HD also features full support for Crystal Leaderboards and Achievements as well as some unique unlockable rewards that allow you to access new levels and even play around with a built-in music sequencer so you can arrange your own sounds and effects and then marry those with some exciting visuals in enemy-free levels.
I canít think of any non-music game on any system where the music plays such an important part of the experience, so much in fact I went as far as to buy some studio-quality headphones. Sure, there is Tap Tap and a few other music-centric games but REDUX HD merges its amazing soundtrack seamlessly into the gameplay while focusing on destroying waves of enemies, not just matching beats to visuals.
Radio Flare REDUX HD is definitely worth a look, especially if you love rhythm games, shooters, or just want to jam to some killer DJ mixes. This is just one more game that makes me love my iPad more and more each day. Check it out.