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Been itching for a fast-paced 2D shooter? Look no further than Aero Dog, the hand-drawn sidescroller with a barnyard charm and a blatant nod to retro gaming.
Developed by Esnouf, Aero Dog centers around enhanced lab dog Tuf and his friends as they try to escape the laboratory in which they live. Guide the dogs by dragging your finger across the screen in an on-rails sequence, firing direct missiles from the dog’s mouth. There are several dogs to choose from, each unlocked as game progress is made. Different dogs have different abilities and firepower, and are instantly switched out in combat when you need to change strategies.
A variety of enemies try to thwart the dog’s escape, ranging from bees to giant fish. Enemies alter their formation as they attack you, creating an interesting challenge as you both try to avoid them and take them out with your firepower.
While Aero Dog will provide some shooting thrills, there are a few significant drawbacks to the game itself. Controlling the dog feels weightless and flimsy, sometimes bordering on being too responsive. There’s no broad range of enemy strength, either; they either die in two hits or in twenty, with no middle ground and no real way of knowing outside of some of the enemies being different colors and some bosses having health meters. Variety mixes well, and their movement is good, but it gets frustrating when you can’t appropriately take them out. It can be very easy to die as well, as you lose health by simply touching an enemy or any of the various traps littered throughout the levels. Players should be careful and assess their situation quickly to adjust accordingly.
But above that, there’s an overall feeling of uninspiration that makes the game feel a bit lackluster, like more of a sidescrolling clone than a standalone experience within the genre. More things like power ups, health gains, and more well-realized controls would have made the game much more challenging and enjoyable.
While it might not be the greatest shooter on the app store, its simple nature, decent enemy challenge, and fun, quirky feel work together well to deliver an entertaining app well worth your 99 cents.