• Wonton 51 iOS Review

    Do you love Wonton? Do you love shooting? Do you love the Kids A+ City Road Play Carpet Mat? If so then this is the iOS shmup for you.

    Wonton 51 hails from a combination of the aforementioned Play Carpet Mat, a healthy imagination and a liberal dose of Japanese game culture. A colourful and well-imagined world of soup, noodles and bullets is given a hint of back-story: your girl has been stolen and you need to prove that you are ‘dope’ enough to win her back. So you suit up in your giant mech and fly up the screen towards your unseen target. Movement is locked to one plane on the horizontal axis and controlled with a sliding finger. You fire by tapping or holding further up the screen to where you want to shoot.

    At this stage it is worth pointing out that although the menu screens are presented in portrait format, some users (especially those with fat and useless western hands) may find it easier to turn the iDevice so you play in landscape, this way less of the screen is obscured by hand and it makes it easier to see upcoming obstacles that you have to dodge. The extra screen space this affords players is useful because the game gets pretty frantic in the later stages and you will need quick reaction to dodge bullets and obstacles that speed towards you.

    This is a difficult game as well. You start with only one life and a puny little peashooter. One death sends you back to the menu screen unless you pick up a bowl of delicious ramen. Its nutritional power allows you to take an extra hit and increases the power of your weapon. If you have the maximum three lives and things are getting a bit hectic then you can always intentionally lose a life in order to slow down the pace of the game. One life can be sacrificed in order to make things a bit more manageable in the short term but, onceyou have died, your points will rack up more slowly again.

    You will encounter bosses that are strangely reminiscent of the giant stealth bomber in Captain America and, as expected, the challenge increases the further along you get into the game. Score is calculated based on how far you have managed to travel, the number of enemies you have destroyed and, in true shmup fashion, the number of buildings that you have managed to scrape right next to without smashing straight into the side of them. Top scores are hard to achieve and for the completionist out there achievements are built in to keep you hitting the evil Baron Wonton with style.

    The controls are as sharp as you can expect from an iOS touch screen game but they do take some getting used to. The default setting requires you to keep your finger on the screen and slide it for movement but because the decision has been taken to restrict movement to one plane for the player's character, genre fans may find it difficult to adjust to not being able to utilise the full play-space. This makes it harder to dodge bullets and leaves players with the feeling that the controls are not as fluid as some of Cave's iOS releases; tactics will need to be adjusted so that high scoring can be achieved. There are never enough bullets on screen at any one time to fully describe it as a bullet hell anyway; it is more of a bad day in bullet town. The fact remains that the controls will be a sticking issue for some players, and, as with changing the orientation of your iDevice, some players may find it easier to hold to shoot rather than tap the screen as the tutorial suggests.

    The care that has been lavished on the sprites and the dialogue adds to the feel that Wonton 51 has been approached as a complete game and not a standard iOS score chaser. This is a game that comes from the heart and it should be lapped up by shmup fans but for those who aren’t already stalwarts of the genre, the high difficulty level may be off putting.

    + Stylish Japanese iOS gaming
    + Fun quick burst gameplay
    + Well pitched difficulty for shmup fans

    - Difficulty can be off putting for beginners
    - Suffers from the same problem as all iOS games for control
    - Optimum control methods could be better explained

    Score: 7/10
    Comments 8 Comments
    1. chopemon's Avatar
      chopemon -
      Thanks very much for doing this review! I'm really happy with it, the criticisms are fair and something we are updating.

      Having a game I made reviewed positively on here is a big thing for me, thanks for taking the time to do it.
    1. randombs's Avatar
      randombs -
      Lovely review.

      I find the game difficult because I'm generally bad at shmups(and games in general) but I don't mind at all because, like other difficult but good games I've played, it always feels like I just need to try harder, not that the game was made by masochists.

      The themed banner at the top of the forum is fantastic, too.
    1. rmoxon's Avatar
      rmoxon -
      I like the theme of the game and everything, I generally don't have any problems with touch screen controls really as I play loads of iOS games and am use to them, however I think this is too hard to play, plus having to tap on what you want to shoot means you are constantly covering up the screen and can't see half of it. Unless there has been an update that lets you just shoot the old fashion way now?
    1. chopemon's Avatar
      chopemon -
      The update will be out soon, we're just waiting for Apple to approve it. It adds in a rebalanced autofire mode. We're seeing people get much better scores with it.
    1. egparadigm's Avatar
      egparadigm -
      It's called 'sausage stylus', rmoxon, and you suffer from fat hands; like Homer Simpson.
    1. rmoxon's Avatar
      rmoxon -

      Actually considering I'm male I think I have relatively small hands, but they still obscure a 3 1/2" iPhone screen when I cover it up with them
    1. Riskbreaker's Avatar
      Riskbreaker -
      Excellent game. I'm in agreement with rmoxon, the default mode doesn't really do it for me as my hands obscure the screen too much. On The Rocks mode however is stupidly addictive and I'm more happy to play the game like that.
    1. chopemon's Avatar
      chopemon -
      I just posted some free codes here.
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