From GoatUp to Gridrunner to Five-A-Day, Llamasoft mastermind Jeff Minter’s created his own genre of iOS games that combine retro vector graphics and gameplay with his own quirky brand of humor. Super Ox Wars – an homage to old-school vertical shooters – is the newest of these titles and another showcase title for the developer’s catalog.
There aren’t a lot of gamers who will remember titles like Xevious or Star Force, some of the games that inspired Super Ox Wars, but the gameplay is still instantly familiar to anyone who’s played a space shooter before. Using a tight, responsive relative touch control scheme, a single finger controls the movement of a player’s ship as players avoid bullets, collect power-ups, and fill the screen with all sorts of neon-colored mayhem to take out the waves and waves of enemies.
Without ruining some of the more hilarious details, Super Ox Wars is the story of two oxen taking on a space empire with one ship. By collecting red or blue power-ups, players will gain different shooting abilities, adding to that oxen’s dedicated score until another power-up is collected, and the scoring switches to the other character.
It’s a unique little quirk that inspires an interesting sense of competition with oneself, and adds a little bit of strategy when deciding to pick-up a certain power-up and change colors or not depending on score and situation.
Llamasoft fans will immediately recognize the game’s old-school visual style coursing through the veins of it’s ten unique levels. It’s not full of flashy 3D effects or super-colorful backgrounds, but the screen-filling rainbow colored shot patterns and explosions are eye candy all the same, thanks to the game’s super-crisp frame rate and little in-jokes sprinkled throughout the game’s text and sounds.
With bright retro visuals, pitch-perfect controls, and the trademark humor and gameplay we’ve come to expect from Llamasoft releases, Super Ox Wars (universal) is an easy recommendation for any iOS gamer who’s looking for some quirky top-down shooting action.