Sometime I just need to dodge some bullets and blow up some spaceships. Lately sometime has been every moment I've had alone with my iPhone, thanks to Firi Games' bite-sized shooter Phoenix II. A free-to-play bullet hell shooter that's obviously the sequel to something, I picked up Phoenix II when it popped up on the iTunes new games section last month and haven't put it down since.
It's pretty much just guiding your spaceship around the screen with your fingertip, every now and then pressing a little harder (if your phone supports 3D touch) to set off a special weapon that charges as you play. The little dot in the centre of your ship is the only part you have to worry about being hit by bullets, so it's not quite as painful as it looks in some of the screenshots. At least not in the early stages. The further you progress through a level's 20 stages, the more difficult it gets, and if you die you have to start again.
So what's the point? Getting the most points, of course. Missions reset each day, and there are leaderboards for both general and community missions that grant rewards based on performance (I'm currently a member of the toucharcade community).
And then there's all the ships.
Warp gates open on a regular basis, allowing players a chance to add a new ship to their arsenal. Each new model comes with a different combination of main weapon, special weapon and ultra weapon (they have specific names for these), and points earned through play and achievements can be used to upgrade each. The more you upgrade, the further you get, the better the rewards.
So I'm collecting ships at my kids' bus stop, dodging bullet storms in the bathroom and climbing the leaderboards during staff meetings in which my editor in chief tells us we should be writing about all the games we play, even the small ones we're that are eating away at our free time.
And so here we are.
Here's some footage of Phoenix II in action, courtesy of Play AppTube.
Phoenix II is available as a free download for iOS devices on iTunes.