Boss fights take center stage in this free and semi addictive iPhone shooter.
Internal Force reminds us of those old school vertical shooters that force gamers to dodge countless bullets to survive, except instead of featuring traditional stages, it throws a series of progressively harder bosses at you. Each of these monstrosities has signature patterns, both in the way they move and the bullets they fire, that you can exploit and eventually blow them up. That is, if you use the right control scheme.
Twitch shooters need excellent controls to make it a fair fight, so in some respects, Internal Force cheats. Although it features three ways to control the tiny spacecraft, each of them has a flaw that tips the scales in the enemy's favor. This being the iPhone, we immediately chose the accelerometer option and quit after dying nine consecutive times because it's too slow.
Next up was d-pad control. This places directional buttons on the left or right sides of the screen, but again, we failed to make it past the first boss. Since we needed to keep our eyes glued to the screen, our fingers continued to wander away from the arrows.
Finally, we selected traditional touch controls that let us guide the spaceship by sliding a finger anywhere on the screen, and hot damn, it works. We easily dispatched the first boss and made it to the third before succumbing to gunfire. Sticky fingers (from sweat or natural oils) forced us to keep wiping our hands, but if you're serious about playing Internal Force, this is the best way.
Like many retro games, this app suffers from annoying slowdown. On the plus side, however, it seems like Internal Force's developers give players the benefit of the doubt. That's the only way to explain why our ship is intact after running into bullets. This also holds true for threading the needle between enemy fire, as we could have sworn we were done for, but passed through unscathed.
At this point, we sound like a broken record, but it begs asking: where's the online leaderboard? A game this hard (especially one that rewards points for shooting things) needs an option for trigger-happy gamers eager to show their achievements to the rest of the world. Furthermore, why can't we play in full screen mode? Using only a quarter of the iPhone's screen is too much of a strain on our eyes.
Since it's free, there's little reason to avoid Internal Force. It lacks the precision controls found in arcade and console shooters, but it has that "just one more try" vibe that'll keep you playing longer than you expected. Just make sure you choose the right controls.
What's Hot: Flick controls, 8-bit style graphics, catchy music, additive 2-D shooting action.
What's Not: Gamepad and Accelerometer control schemes, slowdown, no online leaderboard, cannot play in full screen.