Arno the Hunter
Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1.2 or later.
Age Rating: 9+
A shooting game that isn’t quite a full-blown shmup, Arno the Hunter takes a cute-ish stalk-eyed alien that resembles a clawed crustacean, drops him in a handful of exotic, extraterrestrial environs and lets him loose for some Turok-style target practice on the local populace of artfully bizarre flying fauna.
Arno comes from Tenthplay, an indie flash game developer that previously made Xantrolex Classic and Dark Visions. The game’s art direction comes artist Khang Le, whose work you may recognise from the iOS Punch-Out!! clone Beast Boxing 3D.
Arno may look a bit bulky, but controlling him is a fluid process. From the base of whatever vibrant 2D plane you happen to be on, you tap the screen to fire arrows at your targets as they pass overhead. The hunter’s physiology allows him to roll into a ball, used for moving around the screen and dodging projectiles when tilting the iOS device. Using different powerups is as easy as tapping your selection from the side-anchored vertical menu.
Like all shooters with tapping mechanics, you’ll often find your view of the action obscured by your own finger. Enemies don’t move that quickly—you have to be able to gauge the trajectory and timing of your shots—but when they start to swarm you may get hit more often than you’d like by a stray projectile you weren’t able to see fast enough to roll away from.
Arno the Hunter on iOS
That depends on entirely on how much you like playing games for points. Arno has achievements to complement its arcade sensibilities, but with only three stages, you can see pretty much everything the game has to offer in a matter of minutes. Here’s hoping for some new material in future updates.
Though Arno is very simple, its rate of fire isn’t much better than Galaga and it has the flash game visual equivalent of soap opera-style lighting, it’s a pretty slick production overall. The stylised organic artwork is probably worth your dollar on its own, though its singular gameplay mentality might be too a little much if the app cost were any higher.