Defender! review (iPod/iPhone)

April 20, 2011

“Now your mission lies ahead of you
As it did mine so long ago
To help the helpless ones who all look up to you
And to defend them to the end”

Anyone who can spot differences between this and the original game is a far sadder geek than me.

10 word description: Clone of arcade classic. Horizontal scroller, defend humanoids from aliens.

You can put the buttons anywhere you like and adjust the transparency. There's a touch control option for movement which means you can remove the joystick and the reverse button (on the left).

10 word review: Perfect copy of Defender. Originally complex controls work surprisingly well.

You will like this if you enjoy: Defender, obviously. Or, if you’re not aware of the original, you need to enjoy fast-paced, hard, retro shooters. Emphasis on hard.

My second attempt at positioning the controls - a bit better.

The good news: It’s Defender. Apart from running the original rom, you would be hard pressed to get a closer version. The best thing for me (always having been rather crap at Defender), the fully customisable controls are great. I still haven’t put the buttons in quite the right places, but I’m getting there.

It even has the big particle explosion when your ship is destroyed. Nice.

The bad news: High-score name entry doesn’t remember the last name entered so you have to type it in every time. Someone, somewhere will have issues with the controls,  but it’s a touch screen, so this is about as good as you’re going to get with a multi-button, reversing, fire-and-bomb scrolling shooter.

Arcadelife verdict: I know I said it’s a perfect copy and I know someone out there will happily point out all the tiny, insignificant differences and guess what – I don’t care. If there’s another version of Defender out there that I can run on my iPod and iPad, that looks and plays this close to the original and has controls that work this well, just point me at it. …  Nah, didn’t think so. So it’s perfect until someone does a better one. I wouldn’t recommend waiting for that to happen and I’d suggest getting this one before someone else notices it on the app store and also thinks it’s a bit too perfect… 

As I said, I'm crap at Defender.

Arcadelife rating: 89/100

Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.2  

iTunes link

SOMA website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (OS 4.3.1)
iPad (OS 4.3.1)


  1. It looks like a pretty nice port. Nice review. There are always those people that have to nitpick at the tiniest of flaws.

  2. […] the only person in the world who finds this amusing. Apparently, you can get a port of Defender on your iPhone, which seems like it would be impossible to […]

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