Foursaken Media anticipated the player’s interest in seeing how the game would feel with the food guarding task removed, and thus offered up a Coliseum Mode. I found this deathmatch a minor curiosity that served mostly to highlight how subtly balanced the main game is; without on-the-fly character switching and the challenges of foraging and food management, Coliseum Mode lacks much of what makes the regular Adventure Mode so compelling.

With the greater portion of the player’s attention focused on realtime resource management, Foursaken Media went for an interface that’s very easy to pick up in literally a few moments’ time. The default Dual-stick Shooter setup would undoubtedly have felt wonky when controlling melee characters, but the developers dodged a bullet here by offering the option to swap out the right analogue stick for an auto-targeting virtual attack button that feels just right. Auxiliary virtual buttons for activating skills and purchasing equipment, as well as menus opened with onscreen taps, also work without a hitch.

A few “bugs” of the unwelcome sort that made it into the initial release have thankfully been squashed with the first update. That means Bug Heroes now runs silky smooth on 4G iDevices, and players with earlier models can also play stably by lowering the game’s visual effects level from the main options menu — a move with consequences so subtle that it will go unnoticed to all but the most discerning connoisseurs of lighting and particle effects. An already excellent game is rounded out by the prospect of continued developer support going forward: Foursaken Media has hinted at plans for content expansions, and if what’s already on offer is any indication, these are sure to keep fans scurrying back to their iDevices long after this game’s initial release period.

Regardless of how Bug Heroes‘ visual effects level is set its graphics are crisp, with plenty of dynamic zooming for critical attacks to keep things exciting. Its music ranges from fun and buoyant to moody and compelling electronica; while the game welcomes the player to construct an iTunes playlist, it’s quite a challenge to find MP3s that suit Bug Heroes‘ environments as well as the original soundtrack.

iFanzine Verdict: Without a doubt, Bug Heroes is the year’s first must-have release. It’s got everything an iOS gamer could ask for: a clever and involving concept executed with a blend of elements plucked from different genres; a crisp presentation; loads of replay value; a reliable interface; and assured developer support. If you take Bug Heroes for a spin, you’re getting plenty more than your two bucks’ worth!

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