Super Arc Light, a new game from No Code Studios for mobile devices, takes a tried and true minimalist approach that pits you against a Space Invaders-style premise, testing your mettle against your enemies. Available on both Google Play and Apple’s App Store for 99 cents USD/CDN, this game gives you a kind of no-strings-attached approach that holds your hand only for a short time before ramping up the challenge almost immediately, which makes the game’s sessions typically take short periods of time but encourages multiple sessions per play.
When I said this game was like Space Invaders, I was not kidding: your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to pace around a circular line, oftentimes picking up weapon power-ups, in an effort to keep enemies from breaching said line by using said power-ups and your regular shot. You have two controls, each done by tapping the screen in a certain way: one for shooting and the other for changing your direction, as you’re constantly in motion. As you can probably guess, things get crazy really fast and the game demands you catch on to its difficulty just as quickly. In order to get a grasp on enemy patterns and weapon types, you’re going to end up dying a lot.
While the game is minimalist to the extreme and there isn’t a whole lot to the game from a design perspective, that doesn’t mean the game isn’t as stylish as hell: as you can tell from the couple of screen shots I have on this article, you can see a lot of how neat the screen gets when just trying to play the game gets kind of hectic. I actually really like the design approach and it really oozes a certain kind of style that I like: plain, clean lines, almost LED-like contrasts, very retro and vectorized graphical approach. It tugs a little at the memories of games like Tempest, which I sank a lot of quarters into, in the 80s.
However, unlike the games of old, where the difficulty curve was slightly in your favor, early on, this game ramps up the difficulty very quickly and without warning, giving you almost no time to get good at shooting with these controls before you’re challenged. If you had a little more directional control then this wouldn’t be such a problem but in its simplicity, this difficulty is more from limitation than by design. I got used to it, eventually, but it made the learning process a little hectic and stressful. Once I did get used to it and I started getting into the power-ups, though, the game opened up and it became a lot of fun.
At the end of the day, the game is certainly worth the price of admission, especially if you stick with it. I don’t know if it has an endpoint or not but, if it does, I certainly haven’t reached it and I’ve really enjoyed my time with it so far. Check it out on Google Play or the App Store!