Strap in, and prepare to blast alien ships out of the sky in the new iOS game Bomboras Forever. It’s a 2D side scrolling shooter that lets you control all of the action with a two touch control scheme. All of the action is presented against handcrafted backgrounds that present alien worlds that range from colorful mountains caps to silhouetted suns. Bomboras Forever looks to be a level based shooter at first glance, but it turns out it’s a classic endless arcade challenge. There are level breaks that let you choose the next level in a forking pathway, but you still start at the beginning each time that you lose.
There’s an ultimate goal in Bomboras Forever as you’re aiming for the supermassive SAstar point on the map. The problem is that the objective within a level isn’t always clear. I completed levels, but was never sure if it was because I destroyed a certain number of enemies, lasted a specific amount of time, or flew for a pre-defined distance. All of a sudden, the level is complete, or you die hoping a level will end soon. There are level variations that you can see on the map, but once again it’s unclear what the different variations entail from tiny icons on the map view. It’s great to have the forking map, but it’s tough to truly get anywhere with the unclear level objectives and endless structure.
To control the endless action, you simply slide your finger on one side of the screen to move in that direction, and tap on the other side of the screen to fire. The game lets you flip back and forth at will to change the direction of your ship and weaponry, and yet it always comes down to just your two fingers. The problem with the controls is that your two fingers cover each side of the screen, which is where new enemies enter from. Bomboras Forever has a weird set-up in which the enemies simply appear, rather than coming at you in waves. Most of the enemies are off screen giving you nothing to target. The best strategy sometimes is to just hold down to fire, as you drag up and down to scatter your shots. Each level plays similarly as part of your field of view is obstructed, and even if it wasn’t, the enemies simply flash on screen to give you little to aim at as you’re flying around. Most of the game is flying back and forth, seeing enemies appear, and trying to change direction to be on their tail. It becomes tedious quickly with the endless set-up.
Bomboras Forever ($0.99, iPhone) is promising at the outset, but delivers a short flight of entertainment.