After seeing so many mediocre games and apps comes through the App Store, it is sometimes easy to lose faith that the iPhone/iPod touch can truly be a legitimate gaming platform.
Then, a game like Sentry Alpha comes along and restores my faith. It is truly an addicting, excellent space shooter that is well-designed and fun to play. The storyline is simple enough — you launch off in your spaceship and blast away at some aliens. No mess, no fuss. Just take out your aggression on some alien scum. The weapon setup is pretty simple and handy — an unlimited amount of guns with the option to find more missiles and bombs along the way.
With Sentry Alpha the guns can either be set to shoot in a non-stop stream or manually. Not having to push anything down to shoot is kind of cool and lets you focus on moving the ship around the screen. However, there's nothing quite like the feeling that you are "shooting" the enemy. It will probably be best to try both out and see which is to your liking.
The only quirky part about firing the guns is that there is no "button" or target to tap. Anywhere on the screen works just fine. The challenge is to tap somewhere that does not get in the way of the game play. Missiles and guns, on the other hand, have pre-determined icons you tap when you want to fire those weapons.
The spaceship movements are controlled through tilting the phone. It works fairly well, but does get more challenging as more enemies fill the screen. Especially since the enemies come in various shapes and sizes — some are round and easy to blast, others take missiles or a whole load of gunfire to get rid of. There are also land-based enemies that are easiest to destroy with bombs.
If there is a downside to Sentry Alpha it is that the game play can get repetitive — you fly, enemies attack. the option for customizable weapons or aircraft would make the game even more compelling. At the conclusion of each round is a recap of how many successful kills there were and the number of medals collected (these appear after taking out some enemies). The game's relative simplicity is a strength as it frees you to just turn it on and play.
Overall Sentry Alpha makes for an excellent game. It is highly recommended for anyone who wants some inexpensive and engaging fun.