Ever since I caught my first brief glimpse of an Imperial AT-ST walker at the Battle of Hoth, my inner Star Wars fanboy has longed to drive one. iDamaged, a post-apocalyptic tour de force coming soon to an iDevice near you, doesn’t quite let the player do that, but methinks developer The Red Thing still deserves some kind of geek satisfaction award for impeccable vehicle design sense. The Red Thing was kind enough to let iFanzine take their heavily armed chicken walker for a test drive, and now we’re ready to open the hatch and tell you what to expect!

The press demo didn’t reveal too much about iDamaged‘s premise, but the game’s website says just about everything the player needs to know: an invasion force commanded by one “Dark Phantom” has done a pretty good job of banging up the planet’s landscape, and only one hero in a giant two-legged battle mech can set things aright. What’s really interesting about this game – and what’s sure to set its critics apart from its fans – is how it captures the complexity of operating what is essentially a tank on stilts.

Two virtual buttons control the mech’s forward and backward movement, and the player will get plenty of use out of these even during the most heated battles: enemy projectiles are directed at the vehicle’s body, so one of the keys to survival is to stay in motion and let unfriendly fire slip right between its svelte limbs. While throwing the mech into forward or reverse gear and offering return fire with virtual buttons devoted to primary and secondary weaponry, the player also has to tilt the iDevice to swivel the mech’s turret-like body in the appropriate direction. It enjoys a full 180 degree field of fire, which comes in handy as enemies pop up in background and foreground.

When the going gets tough, the player can always flip on an energy shield by tapping the mech directly, or even summon air support with swipe controls once it’s collected certain power-ups. That’s right, not a single mode of interaction goes unused in iDamaged! Thankfully The Red Thing will be providing the player with tilt sensitivity adjustment controls and other user interface options. And that’s not the only thing the developer has in store for players to tweak — a full level editor appears to be well in development, granting control over everything from enemy placement to weather. The Red Thing informs us that the level editor should be available as an update and allow fans to trade user generated levels. Still no word on how, if at all, this might factor into iDamaged‘s leaderboards and Game Center achievements.

iDamaged promises players a very nice scenic route while they’re busy gunning down every mechanical thing that dares to move and collecting power-ups from the wreckage. Collapsed buildings have been shaped into parallax-scrolling backgrounds with a richness seldom seen since the heyday of the arcade shooter. Likewise, we’re already loving what we’ve heard of the soundtrack from veteran game composer Mattias Holmgren. A Lite version appears likely for all those who aren’t already sold at the first glimpse of the playable mech.

We’re just as stoked at the prospect of learning more about iDamaged as you are, so check back with iFanzine for more on the game as it nears release! No word on a solid date or price yet, though $2.99 appears likely.