Radiant is a retrotastic scrolling shooter and a loving homage to the ‘one ship against millions of enemies’ games of olde. There’s nods to Asteroids, Galaga and (obviously) Space Invaders throughout. Even the weapons upgrade screen reminded us of Elite on the Spectrum.
The graphics are simple but look fantastic; big blocky sprites with a cool glowing effect against a dark starry background. The gameplay too is similarly straightforward; you move your ship left and right by tapping on the screen or, on certain Android devices, using the trackball/pad.
All firing is automatic, allowing to to concentrate on steering out of the way of incoming fire or asteroids. Most of the time you’ll be fending off waves and waves of enemy fighters, which bite the dust after a single hit. As the game progresses you’ll have to face off tougher foes as well as the inevitable end of level bosses.
Sometimes the critters will drop power-ups like the purple energy shield (which absorbs a few rounds), the blue time freeze (which, er, freezes time) or the yellow ‘S’ credit pickups – you’ll need these to spend on buying new weapons or upgrading existing ones between levels.
All the weapons have slightly different effects and fields of fire and as you progress you’ll need to switch between them as each situation requires it.
For all it’s old schoolness, Radiant is perhaps a bit too old-school – there’s no option to save, which means if you get really really far on Hardcore mode only to get wiped out by a sneaky stray bullet that you didn’t see, then that’s it, game over. Back to square one for you. Like Speedx 3D before it, Radiant mercilessley punishes mistakes.
It costs 59p from the iPhone app store and a slightly pricier £1.50 from the Android Market. There’s also a Lite/free version for Android which takes you all the way up to the first boss. Whichever version you shell out for it’s still going to work out less than stacking up piles of 20p pieces on an old coin op.