Type of app: Action
Platform/where to buy: iPhone/iPad or Android
It’s been thirty years since gamers first took on the evil robot Zaxxon, and Zaxxon Escape continues the story of what happened after his defeat. Players must escape a crumbling asteroid base by shooting, swiping, and tilting their spaceship through an ever-changing maze of corridors, guided only by their reflexes and handy powerups like auto-pilot and tractor beams. Find out if you have what it takes to survive the total destruction of Zaxxon.
Major features: I was a huge fan of Zaxxon back in the early 80s (it was a 1982 arcade game), later playing it on MAME in the 90s and in Downtown Disney when we took our kids for a few trips to Florida over the last several years. So when I learned about the release of the sequel ‘Zaxxon Escape’ for $0.99 I immediately bought it for both iOS and Android.
The game is essentially a ‘Temple Run’ clone with some space ship specific changes. You tilt your phone to bank right or left and you have to occasionally rotate all the way around. To make fast direction changes you swipe when an arrow indicates, and to shoot stuff you tap the screen. And … that is pretty much it. Unlike the original, the focus is not on destruction but escape – and at least this game gives you a reason to run away as fast as possible (Zaxxon is exploding). Even so, for the sequel to a game all about shooting, to have so little shooting is a let-down.
As you proceed and gather coins and items you can upgrade your ship, helping you last longer in subsequent runs. You can also spend real money to buy upgrades to help yourself out.
Ease of use/Overall performance: Within two minutes you know everything you need about this game, and the rest is execution. If you are playing on an iPad, prepare for frustration as you rotate your entire tablet around to make moves.. Also, if you are using an iPod Touch 4th gen, don’t bother. The product page lists it as compatible but under the description it notes that it is NOT compatible. My attempt makes me say the latter statement is true – it wouldn’t launch on my 4th gen Touch.
I played on the new iPad and Samsung Galaxy S3, and found the game technically a bit of a mess. Performance was occasionally laggy, launches were slow, and occasionally swipes or tapes weren’t registered properly, sending me to my death. Then there were a few crashes – overall it felt like a game looking for an update.
Would use again/recommend?: Look at it this way … if you are a fan of Zaxxon it is ONLY $0.99. It is a reasonable Temple Run game offering plenty of fun so long as you don’t expect too much.
The last thing I wondered … could this be ‘Star Wars Death Star Escape’ just as easily? Definitely – make the ship look like an X-Wing and add R2D2 sounds and it would work. In other words the game is pretty much a generic space setting.
Suggested changes/wish list for updates: Proper support for iPod Touch 4th gen;
Price: $0.99 for either iPhone/iPad or Android
Here is my hands-on review: