The dictionary I have in my house doesn’t define “hotness” as a word; I am writing to the editors.
If you’re looking for a quality game to play on the move, you will often find that Glu do it best, especially with their proprietary brands - things like Fatal Force, Zuma and the like. Not surprising, then, that the trend is expanding into the brave new world of mobile 3D gaming, which is currently underrepresented by most developers. Glu, however, have managed to deliver a near Game Boy Advance experience with Alpha Wing 2.
Alpha Wing 2, being a vertical shoot ‘em up, pits you against a flying army of aliens as 1 of 3 characters- a woman with pink hair, an alien, or a big friendly robot. This troupe of good-deed-doing pilots makes up the Alpha Wing team. They’re required to rid the galaxy of the Brain - the most ridiculous excuse for a villain I’ve ever seen, but it is several years into the future.
The usual way things are with shoot ‘em ups on mobiles are that They’re made up of a few, very similar looking levels, which is probably why they’re ALL oozing with juicy mediocrity. Not here, though: Alpha Wing 2 offers 9 levels, comprising 3 completely 3D worlds. The menus and overall styling of the game are also quite pleasant to the eye, too. Much of the appeal comes from the unique anime style design of the ships and enemies (ooooooh, look at the colours!). You also get a few (more than one) catchy tunes in the background - nothing danceable, but good.
The game itself is reminiscent of arcade legends like Raiden or Ikaruga, and not just because the immediate environment under you is in 3D. It tries to be different, like most mobile games should. First of all, the controls are pretty self explanatory, unless you don’t know what a d-pad is, in which case you would be a crack head. Second, you’re momentarily entertained with an apt story as you play - the plot also changes slightly depending on which character you choose to play as. Contrary to the standard form of these kind of games, the boss fights are actually quite fun, forcing you to destroy each part of the boss separately.
Unfortunately, the state of 3D mobile games at the moment is like this: advanced graphics come in to a standing ovation, while playability is unceremoniously thrown out of the window like some intruding hobo looking for corn flakes. Glu have, mercifully, dodged this little technicality.
So, the lowdown is that you will probably want to play this. The industry has seemed a bit washed up lately in my opinion, but games like Alpha Wing 2 are fairly reliable proof that there’s still some hope left for the business.