This is a combined review of 3 exciting games, we will be reviewing Dogfight 1951, 2012 Zombies Vs. Aliens & 2XL Supercross.

Dogfight 1951

Unless you flunked history class, the title 1951: World War One shouldn’t make a lot of sense. But in this game’s world, history went a little differently. A gun jam prevented the assassination that started World War 1, setting that global conflict back 37 years. Unfortunately, that’s the last you’ll hear of this intriguing alternate-history setup.

1951 is a top-down aerial shooter, and the fact that it’s WW1 in the 1950s doesn’t seem to make any difference at all. The only nod to the setting is the rock-and-roll riff that plays when you activate one character’s invincibility move, and even then the music seems stuck in a buggy loop. This is probably not the intended effect.

Although the storyline is underutilized, the flying action is still great. You steer your plane with tilt, sending it veering side to side in tiny circles. You can also slide a throttle on the left to speed up, and swipe on the screen to perform barrel rolls and loop-de-loops. A constantly-filling adrenaline meter will let you repair your plane and perform unique special moves, which are a real highlight.

Some of these include shooting down enemy planes with an elephant gun, which makes a reticule appear on the screen that automatically seeks out your targets. You can practically imagine your pilot aiming carefully out the cockpit with one squinting eye. Another turns your plane into a battering ram, which is especially helpful because enemy pilots tend to try to knock you down with little regard for their own well-being. The third lets you temporarily deflect enemy bullets back at them.

In addition to your character’s unique special move, you can unlock perks every time you level up, just like in Solomon’s Keep. These may seem random, but the same options will appear at the same time for each character. Since these upgrades offer a degree of freedom and a sense of randomness, they’re the number one reason to keep playing the game.

Also, we enjoyed 1951’s two gameplay modes. In one, a basic survival mode, you have to last as long as possible against increasingly difficult waves. In Wave mode, however, you can continue from one level before where you died. While it’s an interesting concept, this can also be a bit frustrating, as progression usually means two steps forward and one step back.

1951: World War One could use a few minor fixes. Customizable controls would be nice, plus additional game modes, though one is hinted at in the main menu for a future update. It’s still a very fun arcade shooter, and it combines some of the best features of Must Have games like Minisquadron and Solomon’s Keep. We’ll be keeping an eye on this one.

2012 Zombies Vs. Aliens

New releases on the App Store often mirror the hot topics of culture, as we all know quite well. Occasionally, developers come up with the idea of just tossing all of these hot topics together into a singular menagerie, which is exactly what happens with 2012 Zombies vs. Aliens.

2012 ZvA has a humorous concept behind it. Earth is pulverized by aliens, who come back later only to find that their methods sowed the seeds for their own destruction by generating hordes of zombies. You control these zombies, and the game faithfully recreates the tactic that zombies always seem to use– mob the enemy regardless of danger and death, until you win.

This mirrors the lack of strategy in the game. The only control you have over your units is when to spawn them and when to send them out from bunkers. There is no path-drawing feature like in Trenches, meaning that there is no direct control over where your units go. What is worse is that only three units can hole up in a bunker, making any other unit simply charge ahead, guns blazing.

This doesn’t mean that the game isn’t fun, though, because zombies and aliens fighting always provides some form of entertainment, especially with gruesome animation to illustrate the battles. 2012 ZvA has eight cities, each with seven major areas that you need to battle through. With three difficulty settings, as well as the Alien campaign mode, you could conceivably play this game for a very long time. It also has seven types of units and several airstrike options to unlock and level up, which adds some variety to the game.

However, there is simply not enough strategy involved in which units to purchase, level, and spawn. The actual battles can safely be ignored. You just spawn troops as your mana climbs high enough, send them out from bunkers, and watch them win or lose, depending on the number and strength of troops.

Your scores are submitted to OpenFeint, but the game gives you no post-battle statistics to look over, nor does it show you the score submitted to OpenFeint. All together, it lends to a strategically lacking experience, and we advise caution before buying.

2XL Supercross

2XL Supercross is a 3D dirt bike racing game with graphics that show off the iDevice’s full capabilities. Not only are these graphics at least as good as something you’d play on the PSP, they also run smoother then a freshly “Zamboni’d” ice rink! This is a pricey game, but you’re getting a pretty good value for the money.

You have eight different control styles to choose from, so you’re sure to find something that fits your needs, from accelerometer controls to an on-screen joystick. We recommend the accelerometer controls, because the joystick can get a little buggy. But seriously, take our word for it–you’re not going to have a problem with the controls.

Not only are your controls customizable, but so is your rider. You can change the color of your rider’s bike and outfit, as long as you’re not in the middle of a race. There are four different camera angles to choose from–and yes, that does include a behind the handle bars, first-person view.

Overall, there are 13 tracks which you have to unlock one at a time by winning races. These are all copied from real-life tracks, and they include real city names from around the USA. The tracks have obstacles like turns, jumps, and of course the other riders. You can also choose from three different gameplay modes: practice, time trial, and racing. The tracks look nice, the races are fun, and just the “training grounds” track (a circular track which includes many jumps) will keep you entertained for a long time.

2XL Supercross could be improved in a few areas. First, it would be nice to have some sort of multiplayer competition in this game to boost replay value. A better “splash” effect in the mud would help too; right now, you’ve only got a skid mark following your bike. And lastly, the game’s simply going to be too expensive for a lot of people.

Bottom line: if you’re looking to spend a little bit more on a beautifully constructed racing game, 2XL Supercross is a great bet.

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