Vertical shooting games were massive in the arcades of the 80s. Their popularity has waned somewhat in recent years so it's refreshing to see a release such as Dragon Bird, which revives the vertical shooting format for today's mobile devices.
Dragon Bird is based around a very simple concept. - you're in charge of an airplane that must shoot everything in sight. The weapons are set to auto-fire so all you need to do is dodge the bombs, gunfire, lasers and cannons while taking down entire fleets of enemy craft. The guys who are out to get you come in tanks, boats, planes, and helicopters, and all represent a different kind of threat. As such, Dragon Bird is a game that's very easy to control yet requires a lot of skill and precision in order to master.
The graphics in Dragon Bird are stunning. The landscapes are wonderfully rendered and contain a high level of detail. There is a diverse array of different terrain that you fly over, including water, mountains, forests and even photo-realistic cities. The action is fast and the animation is smooth even when there are lots of craft on screen at once. I also enjoyed the soundtrack, which, refreshingly, plays a mixture of music on each level, rather than just looping the same irritating track.
There are four different aircraft you can choose to control (including an X-Wing of all things), though you need to save up points in order to buy them. The same is true with weapon upgrades.
Dragon Bird is a massive game with lots of levels and it's not the kind of thing you can complete in one sitting. The trouble with these kind of vertical shooters is that they can become a bit repetitive, especially given that whenever you die in Dragon Bird you have to return to the begin of the level. As a result, you'll need a lot of patience with this one.
That said, if you're a fan of the vertical shooter genre, you'll enjoy this fabulous looking mobile incarnation.