Last year, Windows Phone Central broke the news of a 3D space shooter called Solar Warfare coming to Windows Phone and Windows 8. The game impressed us with its Starfox-like gameplay – we don't really see a lot of games of this type on Windows Phone. We followed up earlier this year with the first look at the actual Windows Phone version of the game.
It has been a long time coming, but Solar Warfare from TegTap is finally available on Windows Phone! The Windows 8 version should follow later this year. The game looks just as sharp as promised, with smooth 3D graphics and vibrant colors. It controls quite smoothly with tilt controls, which is good because the promised MOGA controls don't work yet. It does support 512 MB devices right out of the gate though! See Solar Warfare in action on the Lumia 1520 in our exclusive hands-on video.
Fight the sun
In Solar Warfare, players must pilot a lone ship against an evil alien armada. The story is told through a text crawl that unfortunately can't be sped up, only skipped. But it's really just an excuse to get into the ship and start blasting.
The controls for your ship are fluid and easy to grasp. Tilt the device in any direction to aim, and then hold anywhere on the right side of the screen to fire rapid shots. A button at the bottom-right corner fires powerful homing missiles that must be purchased from the shop.
The ship automatically flies forward by default. You can also speed it up by holding the thruster button at the bottom-left corner of the screen, hopefully zooming past incoming fire, and even stop the ship's forward momentum by pressing and holding anywhere else on the left side of the screen. The ability to stop in place provides a greater degree of control than you'd usually get in games like this, and makes aiming easier too.
The goal in each level is to hunt down every single enemy. A radar and enemy counter at the top of the screen helps with the process. After destroying all of the planet's forces, you'll have to deal with a giant boss. The first boss is a bipedal mech straight out of Mechwarrior. With eight worlds to explore, it will be interesting to see how challenging the bosses get.
After scouring a planet's surface of enemies, players will complete a level and receive ratings for their performance. You can then visit the shop and spend the coins collected during the level. The shop sells weapon and shield upgrades, plus missiles and extra lives that will make it easier to complete future missions.
We seldom learn that games will support MOGA controllers before they release. Usually, somebody just comes across the game in the wild and reports its status in our MOGA compatibility forum thread. In this case, developer TegTap gave us the heads up that Solar Warfare would work with MOGA. And it should; the Store page even says so.
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get the game to work with my MOGA Pro Controller. The game just doesn't recognize it. A user review on the Store page reports a similar experience, so the game's MOGA support seems to be broken at launch. But I know that MOGA support is important to the developer, so I'm sure the issue will be fixed soon with an update.
To infinity and beyond
Even without MOGA support at the moment, Solar Warfare is a fun game. It has a definite indie vibe, with relatively simplistic ship and enemy designs. But the 3D engine is good and the game plays really well. If you enjoy 3D shooters that take place in actual land-based environments, such as Starfox and Total Eclipse (anybody remember that hard-ass console game?), you'll have a blast with Solar Warfare. It has a demo, so give it a shot!
- Solar Warfare – Windows Phone 8 – 81 MB – $1.99 – Store Link
Thanks to Mark "Tappy" Tepper for the tip!