Circuit_Strike.One (h.grenade) for iPhone can be best described as a mix between Asteroids and Geometry Wars, with some added humour to keep things interesting. If you’re familiar with the Bizarre Creations franchise at all, you will instantly recognise that the visual style of the Geometry Wars series has had a major influence on the development of this title. Unfortunately the impressive visuals and slamming soundtrack are let down by an overly complex game mechanic and below par control methods.
There are two main objectives to complete in each level: Control a fast moving ship travelling inside a computer network to A) “Hack” each node in the computer it by destroying the shield generators that power the data core defence system and B) Destroy the power core before it self-destructs. Not only is that a mouthful to remember, but you must complete these tasks whilst avoiding and attacking enemy ships, resulting in the fairly large play area being cluttered with enemies and objectives to destroy. With all this going on at once, CS.One can be confusing and perhaps overly complicated for just a casual gamer. Luckily for us here at Gamebrit, we received an instruction manual with these objectives laid out clearly, but for those purchasing on the App Store, very little clarity on what you’re supposed to be doing is given to players jumping in for the first time. With that in mind, it’s obvious this isn’t just a Geometry Wars clone, and once the action gets going it really is good, yet intense fun and can be pretty funny receiving on screen messages such as “WTF?”, “Epic Phail” and “Id!ot” when your ship blows up.
But just like the objectives, the controls for CS.One are not given enough attention for players to embrace or further customise. There’s a choice between basic, which places a small joypad on screen, or advanced controls which introduces thrusting and reversing techniques. Both control schemes take a great deal of time getting to grasp with and may just be too fiddly for casual gamers to get to grips with, for which is essentially a game made for casual play.
Where CS.One does shine is in the visual and aural area, where they work hand-in-hand, bringing adrenaline pumping music synced up with an impressive visual backdrop that varies in style with the music. Throw in some futuristic and old school tech sound effects (like the dial up modem sound) and the result is a great sounding, atmospheric game that developers h.grenade can be proud of.
We’d like to see the developers further assist in easing players into the game with an update featuring a tutorial on controls and how to complete objectives, rather than throw the instructions on a loading screen with small, difficult to read text. But despite the initial confusion and cluttered gameplay, CS.One is great once it gets going in full swing, is highly addicting and has fantastic audio and visuals for a sweet deal of 59p.