OMG brings back some of the best things that were left behind in the late 80's arcade halls. Dark atmospheres and neon lights, simple graphics set to totally rad sound, and best of all - addictive gaming urging you on to beat the highest score. Our Manic Game by Arkedo Studios is certainly no throwback either. It isn't nearly as aggressive at destroying your stock as those old cabinets were for some more quarters and the controls are nearly sublime. All that's really missing here is the pizza shop and someone pestering you for next game.
Read on for Rob's full review, including a sweet video that shows off gameplay and offers some gaming tips as well!
OMG is played in portrait orientation and the environment is a flat two dimensional plane. You pilot a ship by dragging your finger across the screen while it's upgradable laser canon fires in a constant stream. The object of the game is to acquire as many points as possible by blowing up enemy ships while avoiding their fire. Tapping enemies as they descend from the top of the screen will make them unleash a maelstrom of bullets. The more bullets on screen when your opponent explodes, the more points you'll acquire. OMG is all about bigger point rewards for bigger hazards. Touch bosses to bring up a rebound field on either side of the screen. Enemy fire will bounce off of these fields and come back into play making a the entire playing area a dodgy mess of certain death. The term, "bullet hell" suits boss battles quite nicely.
Your weapon, the unyielding laser beam, gets upgraded after every fifth wave of enemies you've defeated. The laser power at it's maximum level is devastating but the increasing number of baddies with each incoming wave at that point will easily level the playing field. The farther into the game you've trudged and the more enemy ships you'll have to deal with - each at increasing speeds. Each play is exactly the same so while it doesn't harbor any new challenges it does breed perfected plays through experience and pattern memorization. Players may find that playing the same thing over and over again may wear out the appeal but keep in mind that it's all about getting the highest score on the leaderboards and trying to make it as far as possible. If that's not your thing, you may want to try a different mode.
Arkedo Studios delivers two modes of gameplay to choose from - Infinite or 5 Minute Mode. Infinite Mode is exactly what it sounds like - infinite. It is easily the best way to learn how the game handles. Infinite Mode has three difficulty settings - Normal, Hard, or Insane. Each more increasingly difficult than the last by increasing the number of baddies to deal with at an increased speed and the further subtraction of lives to waste in the player's stock. If you're going for the all out highest possible score you can get than Infinite Mode is the way to get there. The game doesn't end until you've completely run out of lives and OMG never rewards a 1-Up. It's up to you to dodge and outmaneuver your adversaries to maintain the livelihood you've been granted.
5-minute mode has no difficulty settings and is probably the best venue of friendly score competition because of the time limit. See who among you can get the farthest in five minutes. When that's no longer a challenge opt for the bigger part of the game by seeing who can score the most in five minutes. Because each play is exactly the same the challenge of obtaining the highest score becomes the biggest claim to OMG superiority. 5-minute mode will no longer be about who can get the farthest in five minutes but who plays those five minutes the best - and the score will reflect that. Those of you who really enjoy competition will love 5-minute mode and will probably hate the worldwide leaderboards.
OMG is nearly the best thing to happen to top-down shooters since Geometry Wars. Simple and addictive gameplay that goes hand in hand with simple and great graphics and sound. What's more is the tongue in cheek scoring system - big scores often explode on screen with the phrase, "OMG!" Our Manic Game is the latest and probably best offering in Arkedo Studios' library, most of which can be found in the Xbox Live Arcade's Indie Game section. Perhaps the game is a little lackluster in options and modes of gameplay but it's simply too much fun to notice if anything is missing, and at $2.99 you get a little bit more fun than what you're paying for. Seeing it run so beautifully smooth on WP7 brings hope that we'll eventually see a heartier version of OMG on Xbox 360.
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.