Sadly, just as you were preparing to place the entirety of Earth under the steel clad toes of your otherworldly race, you made a disastrous discovery: you have — yet again — forgotten to refill your flying saucer with Deutronium Mega-Crystals before leaving home! Although you’re thankful for your ship’s Anti-Gravity Brakes — which are slowing down your now spiraling decent — you realize that you won’t be able to refill anywhere on this backwater planet, and thus you have no choice but to defeat mankind before you land. Sadly, firing your Nova-Destruction Cannon will — aside from starting really cool fires — cause your ship’s emergency power reserves to drain even faster than they already are, accelerating your potential crash into a nearby filthy human building.

Or at least that’s what I personally assume to be the premise of City on Fire – A Carousel Game (out now, free), wherein players are tasked with destroying an entire city before their failing UFO crashes into the ground below. Similar to PigeonMan (our review) and Amazing Beat (our review), City on Fire is yet another entry in a recently growing trend of free mobile games that furthermore come with absolutely no IAP-Strings attached. iFanzine certainly approves of this trend as we’d rather developers make fun games that people want to stick around with — so that they’ll see more in game ads — rather than exploitative games, focused entirely around methods of ripping players off at warp speed.

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Anyways — getting back to topic — the controls in City on Fire couldn’t have been any simpler: with players holding the screen to unleash laser fury upon the puny humans below, and releasing the screen to conserve their dwindling power reserve. Although it initially seems that there’s absolutely no way you could destroy everyone before your UFO crashes, crafty alien conquerors will quickly discover a valuable trick for success. Each time a building is completely set on fire — and subsequently destroyed in the process — it will release a hot thermal blast of air that can lift your UFO back up into the sky, meaning that if you prioritize your targets — and fire judiciously — you just might win!

When coupled with randomized city structures that are different on each play through, players will be tasked with improvising the best possible strategy — entirely on the fly — during each session anew. Even though min-maxing your rate of energy drain against how fast you can cause buildings to utterly collapse will be no simple matter, it quickly proves to be an oddly compelling mandate that you’ll find yourself returning to regularly. Finally — for the most valiant alien conquerors out there — City on Fire even features a high score list, so that UFO pilots everywhere can see whom is best at destroying every last filthy human in sight.

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Anyways, accompanying City on Fire’s tense action are retro-styled pixelated graphics that are — so as to perhaps better convey the fact that your slowly descending saucer truly is travelling around in perfect circles — curiously curved rather than perfectly flat. Although the game has precisely one song to accompany all of this action – which can sometimes be a recipe for disaster, such as with Legend Dary (our review) — I am pleased to declare that City on Fire’s singular song actually holds up very well to heavy listening. The track itself was composed by the prolific Matthew Pablo — a professional in the field whom has provided the scores for a plethora of other mobile games — and those interested in hearing more, or even seeing his many animations, should check out his home page.

In conclusion: between compelling game play — a free price-tag, with absolutely no strings attached — and a solid presentation, there really isn’t a reason why you shouldn’t be joining the ranks of would be alien conquerors everywhere.

Verdict

City on Fire’s city blasting premise — wherein players must min/max between their energy expenditure and rate of building destruction — is rather compelling, especially for an absolutely free game that has no IAP-Strings attached. The end result of all this is a rock solid app that you really should give a whirl — or two — as there’s really nothing to lose, except possibly hours of your life as you continuously try to win — and in the process likely fail — just one more time.