Quick look—Retro bullet-storm fun: Magenta Arcade for iPad

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IMG_0561If you like continuous shooters, aka bullet-storm or bullet-hell arcade games, you’ll love Magenta Arcade. The game has all the good stuff you’d expect from the genre: lots of swarming baddies coming down from the top of the screen that you need to shoot before they touch you and blow you up. The App Store has hundreds or of these shooters: you control a plane or a tank or a person or some other avatar who constantly shoots a stream of bullets up-screen at the bad guys. Magenta Arcade has one innovation that sets it apart and makes it a lot easier to control: your finger on the screen determines the source of the bullet storm; there is no avatar per se. You move around the screen easily, aiming and dodging as quickly as you can move your finger around the screen. There’s no controller middle-man between you and the bullet storm.

screen568x568Magenta arcade uses many familiar bridge scenes that keep the constant shooting from becoming boring. You can touch-and-hold bonus carts and earn power-ups like more effective bullets or a super-weapon you activate by pounding the ground. There are also super-baddie battle wagons and space ships that require all that extra firepower to dispatch. When you die, which you do often, the scene quickly restarts with no upgrade-garage nonsense. This brings me to the only possible downside to Magenta Arcade: it’s really hard. I grew up on these kinds of games and it took me a longggg time to get to Level Three. Of course your reflexes and tenacity may be a lot better than mine so as usual YMMV.


The graphics and sound are right from 1982, and I found the retro-look endearing; it brought on nostalgia for my teenage self with a pocket full of arcade tokens. The music is somewhat annoying, but you can turn it down. The game never hesitated or crashed on my original iPad Air. Here’s a link to Magenta Arcade in the app store. It’s $1.99.

Marc Luoma

I'm an iPad, and iPhone enthusiast, Mac user since '84, world traveler, dog and cat lover, living in Kigali Rwanda for a year.

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