Brought to you by Mind Trick Software, Sentry Alpha delivers the classic ‘Shoot’em up’ experience on the iPhone. Although the twitch based mechanics of many ‘Shmup’s’ is lost in the lack of buttons, Sentry Alpha delivers a hell of a top down shooting experience.
Sentry Alpha takes what’s great about top down shooters and ports it to the iPhone. The immediate issue that most people will find upon launching Sentry Alpha is the control scheme. Moving around your ship is totally mapped to the accelerometer. At first it seems to be either unresponsive or too sensitive to place your shots.
However when players continue through the games 7 levels the tilt controls being to grow on you. There is no predetermined ‘’shoot” button, due to your ship constantly firing a never ending spray of bullets. There does seem to be a bit of a delay between your ship and bullets, although it’s not a distraction, it does make the controls that little bit more frustrating in the early stages of the game.
Most enemies in Sentry Alpha take but a simple touch of firepower to take down. Further into the game newer and tougher enemies are introduced forcing the player to make use of their missiles and bombs (both of which are unlimited). The bombing involves the player having to navigate deep into the fire and plant bombs on top of turrets which are unable to be shot with bullets.
Although it’s a clever idea to mix up the gameplay, controlling your ship through intricate paths between bullets and ships is near impossible to come out of in one piece. The difficulty ramps up pretty quickly as players progress through the one and only single player mode making for some pretty intense (but not impossible) firefights where the frame rate holds up surprisingly well even with 12+ ships, missiles, bombs, bullets and explosions all happening at the same time.
Sentry Alpha is one of the best Shmup’s for the iPhone. A wide range of enemies, weapon upgrades and pretty environments make it an accessible and intense shooting experience. Although it’s let down by its lack of giant lasers, massive bosses and touchy controls (or the lack of) Sentry Alpha is one for those who are fans of Shmup’s or those who simply want to gun down some aliens in their lunch break.