Ion Assault Review
There's no shortage of dual-stick shooters on XBLA, and one of the latest of these games is Ion Assault. Ion Assault attempts to differentiate itself from the crowd by integrating some Asteroids style gameplay and Geometry Wars style particle effects into the game. Throw in a unique weapon system and you've got a game that's at least a bit different than most of the others in this crowded genre, but the important question is whether or not 'different' is fun in this case. Let's find out...
The levels in Ion Assault place you in small arenas where asteroids float around waiting for you to break them into successfully smaller chunks, but the first time you play the game you'll notice something different. Unlike most dual-stick shooters, the right stick is only used to aim your weapon; it won't fire automatically. You use the left trigger to fire, but even pulling the trigger won't guarantee that you'll get a shot off. That's because Ion Assault's weapons need to be charged before they're fired, and it's up to you to do the charging. Space in Ion Assault is not a vacuum, but is filled with tiny particles. As you move your ship through these particles it will suck them up just like a vacuum cleaner and use their energy to power the weapon. Suck up just a few particles and you'll fire a relatively weak shot. Collect a lot of particles in your holds and you'll be able to release a supercharged blast. Because of this you won't be able to just float in one spot, spinning and shooting. You must constantly be on the move, seeking new pockets of particles while avoiding collisions with the asteroids or the numerous enemies that game throws your way.
The difficulty in Ion Assault ramps up pretty quickly, as each successive level adds more enemies into the mix. Pretty soon you'll see how particle happy the game really is. Between the asteroid chunks, space particles, and enemy ships and their weapons' fire, the screen can get quite cluttered and it can be difficult keeping track of it all. It's pretty to watch, but also pretty hard to steer a ship through all of the chaos.
The game consists of four five-stage levels, each of which ends in a boss fight. The boss fights are a bit disappointing in terms of challenge considering what it takes to reach them, but if you're just a casual gamer you'll have trouble reaching most of them in the first place. Ion Assault can be fun for fans of the genre, especially if they're looking for something a little different. For everyone else it's probably too different and too difficult to be of much interest.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 72%.