An entire alien race depends upon you successfully making your “last stand”.
A race of rather cute looking aliens known as the Po’Trubians are under attack by the Sleevils, whose only desire is to destroy the Po’Trubians worlds and multiply. As a counter measure for exactly this kind of situation, the Po’Trubians created the Static Alien Neutralizers, otherwise known as STANs, that simply float in space and destroy alien invaders. However, this time around the usual fleet of STANs are just not up to the job, so it falls upon a veteran STAN unit to make the last stand and fight back the invaders. You, the player, get to control this “Last Stand Stan”.
So there you have the backstory to this static space shooter from GreenBeanGames for the iPhone. Not exactly ground-breaking stuff, but the proof is in the pudding, as they say, or the gameplay I suppose. Offering both a campaign with 20 levels, a survival mode and Game Centre compatibility all for a bargain price of just 59p, Last Stand Stan certainly looks the part, but how does it perform?
The gameplay is certainly easy to pick up and offers some of that “quick hit” enjoyment that works so well on the iOS platforms. STAN remains in the centre of the screen and wave after wave of enemies will make their way towards him from all directions. The player simply spins around and fires the various weapons at the enemies with a goal of wiping them all out. As the player progresses through the levels in campaign, they will come across more and more different enemies, each with different characteristics that will require the player to think on their feet. Some of the enemies will move slowly, whilst others come in quite quick. Some will circle STAN and fire at him whilst others will reach a certain point and then set up a shield, blocking STAN’s line of fire. As if this wasn’t enough, the player will also have to deal with a couple of rather heavy going boss battles.
This in itself is all pretty standard stuff. But what makes STAN interesting are the weapons and how they are used. Every couple of levels, STAN will unlock a new weapon. This weapon is available to use straight away and can be switched by touching STAN himself and bringing up a circular menu. The game pauses whilst doing this, so don’t panic. As the game continues, more extravagant and powerful weapons become available for use. Each weapon, however, only has a limited amount of ammo and so can only be used for a certain amount of time. The ammo slowly replenishes when the weapon is not being used, but this still means that the player is going to have to be very careful about which weapon they use and when as you never know when that extra heavy firepower is going to be needed.
The survival mode is, as you would expect, a matter of staying alive as long as possible against the hordes of incoming alien ships.
From a production point of view, there really is nothing to complain about here. The game has some lovely vivid colours and a nice cartoony feel to the visual. The controls are not especially precise, if things get busy on the screen it is quite easy to accidentally press STAN and bring up the menu rather than shoot the enemy, but this is more down to the obvious limitations of the touch screen interface and the differing sizes of peoples finger tips.
The game ramps up the difficulty quite quickly and the player will soon find themselves being completely overcome by enemy ships. But it doesn’t raise the difficulty levels to silly heights, so the player is always left thinking that there is a chance of getting through a level, and the feeling when completing a particularly hard level and moving on to the next is great. If I had to level any criticism at the game, it would probably revolve around the basic weapon, the Flinger. This gun not only fires only one bullet at a time, but does it very slowly. As this is the only real weapon to begin with, and the only one with infinite ammo, the player will be using thisÂ a lot, and it is slightly offputting. It wasn’t until I switched to the Gatling Gun and Laser that I actually started enjoying the game. Maybe the devs could make the Flinger fire a bit quicker?
Last Stand Stan may seem fairly basic, but there is hidden depth that has the player thinking carefully about which weapon to use and how long to use it for. It also has that wonderfulÂ quality where you pick it up for just a couple of minutes and find yourself playing for much longer, trying to beat that high score or clear just one more level. The game looks good, plays well and is much better for you than that Mars Bar you have been eyeing up. Buy the game and be healthy.
LastStandStan is available on the App Store for just 59p.