Games that never end seem to largely be a mobile phenomenon– thanks to the success of Temple Run and its ilk. Sega tweaked the formula to the stars with their Zaxxon revamp, but Abyss Assault truly takes the retro shooter into the endless direction. The results are surprisingly good.
An undersea vertical scrolling shooter, Abyss Attack is a gorgeous and surprisingly meaty treat. It has all the standards of the genre—multiple subs to earn and use, a variety of regular and super weapons, bosses, and bullets everywhere—and makes the gameplay multi-goal-oriented. Instead of merely trying to reach the end boss of each level, Abyss Attack is chuck full of mini and major mission goals. Granted, most of these goals are the usual runner-type things—reaching a certain distance, shooting so many enemies, time and boss goals, and other similar events.
Many of the goals can be completed within a single round, but others require persistent playing to rack up enough points and mileage. It’s a system that works remarkably well for the old school shooter mechanics. Of course, the great look and unexpectedly good soundtrack help a lot. The undersea locales that smoothly transition the farther players get look beautiful. The enemies tend to have a uniquely biological deep sea look to them. Creatures frequently sport eerie glows and the bosses look especially good—often creatively designed mixes of creepy jelly fish, tentacle things.
Abyss Attack offers a choice between standard touch and tilt controls, but the tilt controls just feel too imprecise to be a viable choice when the action heats up. Touch controls can still get in the way (particularly on a smaller screen), but the response is quick and precise this way. Firing is automatic and there’s a variety of cool weapons to acquire from downed enemies.
Abyss Attack stays true to its arcade lineage, but adds the new elements of mobile gaming to create a great example of a modern shooter. The game looks and sounds great, plays well, and doesn’t bog players down with a slew of unwanted microtransactions. The gameplay is simple and familiar, yet well done. Enemies and locations are creative and the action is non-stop joy for shooter fans. Beyond that, though, the sheer amount of goals and achievements make the game incredibly addictive.