Truth be told, it doesn’t take very much to convince me to keep playing a video game. I don’t need intricate storylines or complex characters. Developers can keep their new game mechanics and their titles with several different kinds of gameplay. Ambient environments and atmospheric aesthetics are fantastic, but even then, it’s all for naught if the game isn’t fun. That’s precisely where Polish developer Macaque succeeds where many, many other studios simply fail: they create fun games.
Missiles! is yet another of Macaque’s “fun” entries. The title is simple and requires very little acclimation. Players control a minimalist red propeller plane, piloting the vehicle as an increasing number of homing missiles attempt to blow it out of the sky. The whole point of the game is to stay alive for as long as possible, avoiding missiles and collecting stars to increase your high score.
The plane can be piloted with three slightly different controls — a joystick, left and right arrows, and freeform finger control. Players can also hook up an external controller for finer piloting and switch between normal and fast missile speeds to increase the game’s difficulty. No matter how you choose to play the game, however, the purpose and end goal remains to stay alive for as long as possible. It’s simple, clean and fun, in ways that only mobile games truly can be.
Make no mistake, I love complex story-driven video games, I really do. Likewise, I love mobile games of all creeds and colours — complicated RPGs, sprawling open-world action adventure titles, as well as fun arcade apps designed to pass a few minutes of life at a time. That being said, simple mobile games like Missiles! bring joy to my heart because they’re elegant in their simplicity.
Of course, Missiles! is not without a single minor criticism. The game is entirely free-to-play and there’s no way to pay-to-win. Still, an ad does play between every five or six rounds, which does technically break up the flow of gameplay. Players can pay $1 CAD to avoid these ads entirely. Again, it’s a minor criticism because the ads don’t actually last very long at all.
In many ways, Missiles! represents the mobile game stereotype of simple, casual games meant to be quickly consumed and just as quickly set aside. As mobile games continue to evolve and carve out specific niches in the games industry, however, titles like Missiles! are emblematic of how much fun casual games can really be.
After all, there’s nothing wrong with being a casual gamer, much like there’s no shame in being a casual game.