The best things in life are free. That phrase is going to remain true even in the heart of new mobile technology. The free items at the iTunes' App Store are still the crux of iPhone functioning, and free iPhone games are a genre in perpetual turmoil. The top free iPhone games download list is always changing, ranging from hype free versions of pay games to updates and give aways for consistently popular text based iPhone MMO RPGs. iBomber has jumped onto this list recently, but its position amongst this company does not ensure that there is really anything to the title. Part of the brief periods of popularity that free iPhone games see is based on a single innovation or attractive quality that does not sustain players interests. iBomber, on the other hand, has a nice mix of specific gameplay elements and content that is may make it a contender for quite a while.
Loading up iBomber right off the bat takes a bit, which can be annoying. You have to begin by entering in a name, and the keyboard setup within the title is both sluggish and unresponsive. Thankfully you only have to suffer through this process once. iBomber does allow you to make multiple player profiles, but since doing it makes you go through the original start up process it is likely not going to be worth it for most people.
Gameplay itself is based around bombing specific military topics with a top down look. You have to rotate the iPhone utilizing the iPhone's motion sensors to get those targets within focus range and then select appropriate bomb types to get the job done. Each level has mission directives that you are going to want to try to complete. The controls are a little more difficult than they even sound and there is going to be a little bit of a learning curve for new players who want to get the mechanics of the game down. Getting your bombs to lang on enemy ships is even harder than getting them on land, which begins to make some of the levels seem insurmountable at times. To do this effectively you will have to negotiate your motion with the motion of the ships, and on land the small size of many enemy targets can just leave you open to gunfire. Either way, once you get the general flow of gameplay down you are going to find that this challenge really lends itself to maintaining your interest past the first few engagements.
The fact that you have several episodes and you progress along a campaign really sets this apart as a full game and not just a standard "cell phone" distraction. You can put enough time into iBomber to justify playing it even when you have access to more stationary technology. The Options themselves inside iBomber are also somewhat limited, ranging really around sound volumes and the sensitivity of the tilt motion sensors. You are probably not going to want to alter any of these anyway, so the fact that they are given "options" is somewhat irrelevant. In this way iBomber actually marks itself as a major step forward for free iPhone games and allows for the possibility for full development to exist under this price free model.
There are a lot of small things that could have made iBomber even more of a success. If the environments were a little clearer it would make hitting targets more efficiently. The constant motion in the game can make things a little too visceral at first, but being able to sit still may kind of defeat the purpose of the original model.
Each level has a little story card that it begins with, which is nice but could have been added to a little bit. This is not to take away from what is really a fun title that people can engage in, but it still is not going to really compete with many of the other real time strategy or war themed titles that come as pay iPhone games. Until then we still look to the future when free iPhone games may roam the App Store with the same force as those backed by high level corporate developers. An iPhone gamer can still dream.
Four out of five stars.