iPhone/Touch owners rejoice…Mr Fung Fung brings us more high-flying fun with MiniSquadron Special Edition, the follow up to their hit 2D airplane shooter MiniSquadron. Don’t let the name fool you, MiniSquadron Special Edition is not just a re-release of the original title, there is loads of new content. While it is true that the gameplay has pretty much remained the same, the new game offers 50+ distinct planes to unlock, 8 fresh levels, as well as 2 additional pickups (Rapid Fire and Freeze), a destructive new Fireballs weapon and loads of brand-new animals to shoot down. Oh and did I mention that this “Special Edition” is FREE! Yep…MiniSquadron has gone freemium. With the initial download you’ll get the first two levels for free and then you have the option to purchase three additional 2-level DLC packs for 99¢ each.

In case you are unfamiliar with the first MiniSquadron game you can read our review here. The premise is simple, you control your selected aircraft using a virtual joystick and a fire button, and your goal is to survive wave after wave of airborne enemies including jelleyfish, vampires, hamsters, and a huge variety of planes by shooting down anything that gets in your way. Each of the game’s levels is broken down into 12 waves of enemies, during which there are periodic checkpoints (after certain waves) that allow you to pick up where they left off, should you meet an early demise. Once again, at your disposal are a variety of cool power-ups and a unique arsenal of weaponry including homing missiles, bombs, a big laser (YES it’s back) and now…fireballs!

The 50+ unlockable aircrafts really add a tremendous amount of replayability and variety to the game. Each has its own special characteristics with regards to armor, size, turning speed, weapon reload time, and weapon type. I definitely recommend trying out all the different aircrafts as you unlock them, to discover your favorites. You’ll quickly see that each offers its own unique gaming experience. In this worthy sequel, we are also given the option of playing with helicopters, which have fantastic turning rates and which can stay put hovering in one place.

Mini Squadron Special Edition, offers three modes of play: Classic, Survival and Multiplayer. In Classic Mode, you start out with three lives (additional lives can be picked up along the way) and try to last through all 12 waves to complete each level. Survival Mode will have you trying to last as long as possible against huge waves of enemies. Finally Multiplayer mode allows you to play head to head against another player via local wi-fi.

I love the two new pickups as well as the new Fireball weapon that have been added. If an enemy plane is able to grab the freeze pickup before you, you’ll just have to sit there helplessly and try to defend your self until it wears off. The two free levels included with the initial download felt a bit easy, but the downloadable levels definitely had a bit more bite. Like the original, MiniSquadron SE’s shaded vector graphics continue to look fantastic and the animations are smooth and engrossing. Mr FungFung has once again opted for classical music for the game’s soundtrack, or as the developer puts it each level is “accompanied with a track by more Dead Composers”, which works well for the game and adds to it’s special feel and charm.

Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed to see that with this sequel, the menus didn’t receive any sort of update. They are the same exact style as the original MiniSquadron game, and look even more dated than before. While perfectly functional, they just seem to detract from the over all polish of the game and (as we said the first time) “they just come off as a little unfinished”. I really hope these can get a little bit of spit and polish in a future update.

In Conclusion

MiniSquadron Special Edition is more of the same fun and addictive MiniSquadron gamplay that we loved the first time around, with some crazy, cool new additions. The new 50+ planes coupled with three game modes and OpenFeint Leaderboards and Achievements means there is a huge amount of gameplay to be had. The fact that its free, also means it is a no-brainer, GRAB THIS GAME AND CHECK IT OUT! The full game is well worth the $2.97 it’ll cost you for the remaining 6 levels (that’s even a few pennies less than the original game!).


Gameplay Video