This generation’s Missile Command – First Contact

Posted: April 26, 2009 in Strategy

First Contact is in many ways a new and maybe better version of Missile Command.  The animation and the touch responsiveness are the key differentiators of First Contact and will likely be what draws people to this fun game.  The pinch zoom works well and the ability to turn/rotate your planet is a nice way to show off your device.

First Contact follows a simple premise: as your planet comes under attack from bombs and UFOs, you tap on the intruders which activate the nearest missile defense system on the planet.  Once activated, a missile is launched which destroys the intruding objects.  You receive points for destroying these objects, but you also receive additional bonus points based on the number of missile defenses that survive at the end of each level.  Most objects can be destroyed by a single missile, but with UFOs, they require two missile hits.  Believe me, those matter when you face a multitude of intruders in the later levels.  The latest update includes bonus point combo hits as well as perks that appear after every 10 stages.  The perks give you the option of choosing shield upgrades, bonus points, and repair mode which adds a new dimension to First Contact and significantly helps in scoring or just surviving to get to additional waves.

The initial levels are relatively simple, and provide an opportunity for you to experience the interface.  First Contact is offers some good eye candy to watch missiles launch with the resulting fireworks in the upper atmosphere as objects explode.  With every five waves you complete, you also earn a nuclear weapon, which destroys every enemy on screen and is used by shaking your device.  This comes in handy when there is an abundance of intruders which come in force beginning at level 11.

The devs added a nice touch by providing tips at the beginning of each level which remind you of strategies that can be used.  On the other hand, once you get beyond the “it’s really neat” awesomeness and terrific fast fingers gameplay, First Contact becomes repetitive.  The devs should consider additional functionality.  For example, adding a population count that goes up/down based on successful/not so successful attacks (similar to what you would see in Blue Defense!), or providing an upgradeable missile defense system (typical of tower defense games) where you can add/place additional defenses would add tremendously to the replayability.  Fun for short or long sessions, First Contact could launch into a class all its own with a few modifications.

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