Back in 2010 when we were first getting to know Windows Phone 7, indie developer Mommy's Best Games demonstrated the platform's power with a mobile version of its unique Xbox Live Indie bullet-hell shooter, Shoot 1UP. Two years later...
I'm not entirely certain why Shoot 1UP took so long to make the transition from Xbox Live Indie to Windows Phone 7, but I'm guessing it had something to do with Microsoft or building dramatic tension or just waiting for the perfect moment to strike. Perhaps they were having trouble figuring out the 200 achievement points. Maybe they were waiting for Windows Phone 7 to gain a larger install base. Either way, it's here now or it's rather excellent.
Shoot 1UP is a bullet-hell shooter, a top-scrolling 2D game in which a constant stream of enemies swarms the players ships, interrupted at regular intervals by large, creative bosses. There are bullets to dodge, points to pick up — standard shoot-em up stuff.
The gimmick here is that the player isn't limited to one ship on the screen at one time. Or two. Or three. By collecting 1UP's on the screen the player can collect up to 30 ships, spreading them wide with their fingertips or pinching them together to concentrate firepower.
Even a measly five or six ships is a grand spectacle, filling the display with bullets and laser streams, decimating everything in their path. The trick is to balance this awesome destruction with restraint — the wider your ships are spread, the harder it is to dodge or deflect enemy projectiles.
With a wide range of difficulty levels (including the mobile-exclusive Score Tilt mode, which controls the games speed via accelerometer), Shoot 1UP is the short of shooter that any level of player can enjoy. It might not have had a timely release, but it's an extremely welcome one nonetheless.
Oh, and if you don't have a Windows Phone but have an Xbox, be sure to check out Shoot 1UP on Xbox Live Indie Games. It's only 80 Microsoft points, for the love of Pete.
Shoot 1UP ($3.49) [Windows Phone 7]