You know those iOS games that try to wow you with stuff like “console-quality” graphics or oodles of unnecessary game modes and features? Yeah, well, Sets and Settings’ masterfully understated App Store debut, Irrupt (Out Now, $0.99), most certainly ain’t one of them.
In fact, at first blush everything about Irrupt – from its rudimentary retro-styled graphics to the pared back simplicity of its gameplay hook – seems almost laughably basic and underwhelming. However, as the saying goes, “often the simplest titles are the most compelling and addictive” — and that’s certainly the case here!
Irrupt hurls players straight into the thick of the action. When a space station runs afoul of a devastating barrage of space rocks, it splits in two; leaving the poor crew members trapped in the wrecked section of the vessel. Your mission is to make sure as many of them escape and reach safety as possible.
As astronauts bail out through the airlock on the left and float toward their goal, you must help them avoid falling asteroids. Tapping and holding the touchscreen stops your spaceman in his tracks – while also charging up his energy bar – and releasing your finger causes him to boost forward quickly. Dodging the asteroids (which hurl at you faster and faster the longer the game lasts) requires a good deal of concentration, split-second timing, and strategic use of the brake/boost system. Every so often power-ups are dropped, which can be snagged in order to activate gun turrets that blow asteroids to bits.
I had a total blast with Irrupt and I’m really enjoying striving for a better score and moving up the Leaderboard, but some iGamers might find the game’s retro leanings and lack of extras off-putting. That said, it’s kinda hard to see how Sets and Settings could expand on Irrupt’s gameplay without losing some of its tight simplicity and accessibility. A wider selection of power-ups – invincibility, turbo-speed, etc – would add some diversity to the gameplay, I guess. Unlockables like different costumes for the astronauts or bonus characters might also be an idea for inclusion come update time.
iFanzine Verdict: Accessible, exciting and addictive, Irrupt is an essential download for fans of old school high score-fueled arcade games.