Daily iPhone App: Wizard Ops
Wizard Ops is quite a game -- it doesn't feature a ton of polish (as you can probably tell from the screens above), but what it lacks in graphical flair, it definitely makes up for in the gameplay department. It's a game about wizards, obviously, who can cast magical spells, but it's actually more of a shooter, and plays very similarly to those pseudo 3D levels in the old Contra games. The twist here is that you use just one finger to control both targeting and shooting, so the game is a constant balance of both hunting down enemies with the on-screen reticule, and dodging their shots while moving through the game.
As you go, you collect dropped coins, and you can use those to upgrade your wizard and his magical weapons. There are quite a few of those to choose from, so the game feels very rewarding. It almost feels too easy, but then again, there's a lot of fun to be had in plowing through hordes of enemies, so I'm not complaining if the difficulty is a little slow to ramp up.
The graphics are serviceable and fun, and the sound effects are weirdly provided by none other than Michael Winslow -- the Michael Winslow of the Police Academy movies. There's no Game Center integration yet, but updates are promised, and in fact, the iTunes listing says this is only chapter 1 of an unfolding story. Wizard Ops is a universal app that's available for only US 99 cents, and it's an excellent and colorful shooter that delivers a lot of good clean fun.