Newly out on iTunes is Death Ray Manta , an arena shooter for iOS devices made by UK developer Rob Fearon  and Ottawa-based PsychicParrot Games . Earning an 8/10 from Edge Magazine and co-star of the Eurogamer Expo 2012, Death Ray Manta involves blowing stuff up and making pretty colours in the spirit of Minter, Jarvis and Fearon. Based on the acclaimed PC/Mac game of the same name, Death Ray Manta features two sticks and a screen full of laser beams just like any great arcade game should.
Brought to the iOS playing field by PsychicParrot Games’ Jeff Murray (because he can), Death Ray Manta does not waste your time. There is no guff, no IAP, no upgrades – just a videogame. Tap to start. Score higher. Death Ray Manta is a game about blowing up stuff. All the stuff.
Jeff shared a bit of background about the game and its journey onto iOS with me:
“Rob Fearon is a good friend of mine from the UK. He made this amazing game that just seemed to scream out for a mobile version, so I asked him if he would like me to port it over and to my surprise, he said yes. Rob sent me all of his source code and told me to get on with it. He was available to help out with a few things along the way, but I was lucky in that he pretty much handed over full creative freedom of the iOS version to me.
Rob’s original code used the Game Maker Studio engine and, thanks to it having an iOS plugin, we were able to re-use the original game code. That took a huge amount of pain out of the process for me. I found that Game Maker handles memory really well on the devices as well as doing a great job with compression, audio playback and speed. I was completely floored by how well it dealt with everything and it was a lot of fun to work on. As a programmer, it was a relief to find that the engine dealt with so many of the things I’d normally have to spend a lot of time coding, too.
Porting a game like DRM to mobile is most challenging because of the sheer number of visual effects the desktop game has. I had to cut out a lot of effects that the iOS devices wouldn’t be able to handle because of performance reasons, but I really wanted to do as much as I could to keep the overall beauty of the game. It’s a very very pretty game and I don’t think it would work quite as well if we just removed all the effects and turned it into a barren top-down shooter – part of the thrill and excitement of the game comes from its visual rewards just as much as audio or scoring, and the whole experience is really visceral. As I removed certain effects, my biggest worry was that I’d finish it all up, send it to Rob and he’d hate me for ruining his beautiful pictures – thankfully, that wasn’t the case and we’re both really proud of what we’ve built.
The mobile DRM is quite different from the desktop version in terms of how the game plays, but it still manages to capture all the same thrills and excitement of the original with the added bonus of being portable. A quick game on a short bus ride, sitting in a waiting room or some other environment where time may be limited, can be be just as rewarding as playing a longer game – you get your gameplay buzz – and that’s the beauty of it. I think this really is the perfect game to play anywhere because it’s a traditional, no-nonsense arcade game with shorter play sessions that still deliver an amazingly high level of fun.”
Death Ray Manta is available now on iTunes for the special limited time low launch price of $0.99. It is rated 9+ for the following:
- Infrequent/Mild Profanity or Crude Humor
- Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence
Death Ray Manta is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad devices running iOS 4.3 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.