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App description: Manta is a slick, fast-paced 3D arcade shooter in the spirit of classics like Carrier Command, Time Pilot 84, and Xevious.

Visit eight different alien worlds (more to come), and pilot your MANTA (Multirole Air... oh I give up, it's a remote-piloted flying submarine) through alien landscapes populated by dozens of different kinds of alien vehicles and structures and blow them up, then (if you feel like it) return your MANTA safely to its carrier, or just turn off the telemetry and let it self-destruct while you grab a snack.

This isn't a rails shooter. Go sightseeing, blow stuff up in any order, backtrack, explore or hang around and blow up stuff no-one asked you to blow up.
The enemies aren't on rails either. Enemies pick their own goals and react to what you do (some even run away). You can dogfight with individual enemy fighters, or perform genius maneuvers and blow up five in one pass.
Simple, streamlined controls: gun, missile, after-burner, and quick turn.
Levels can be completed in a typical supermarket queue, or take your time and try to max out your score
Fly using tilt controls or a "relative glass joystick" (left- or right- thumbed).
Play to beat the clock, or to hit specified objectives.
Original score by Vel9 Studios (but you can listen to your own music if you prefer)
Runs on iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.
09-07-2010, 01:03 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 5,146
This looked like something that could be up my alley so I took a chance. Unfortunately, poor frame rate kills any chance this might have at being a decent title.

09-07-2010, 01:47 PM
Originally Posted by Gabrien View Post
This looked like something that could be up my alley so I took a chance. Unfortunately, poor frame rate kills any chance this might have at being a decent title.
Agreed. With such simple graphics I was expecting 60 FPS. Instead, it runs around 20-25 FPS even on an iPhone 4.

It's sad, because it's otherwise pretty neat.
09-07-2010, 10:47 PM
Will wait till a patch addresses this problem and then if the gameplay is good, I'll grab it. Also, perhaps they could get the size down to 20MB? A good chunk of games I buy, I do over Wi-Fi and this would be true of many people without permanent Internet connections (I use a USB stick most of the time when I can't use my Mum's Net). So doing this will add to sales IMO.

20-25fps doesn't seem too far off the mark though - I'm happy with 30-40 fps in games generally, if the gameplay's there.
09-08-2010, 12:54 AM
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 590
Can someone post a video of gameplay? I couldn't find any video of it anywhere.
09-14-2010, 12:10 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Tuscaloosa, AL ("Roll Tide")
Posts: 3
There's a video on the official website http://mantagame.com/

Note that it's captured from the dev environment, so framerates are not perfectly reflected. That said, I get pretty decent framerates even on my old 3G (which is the first thing I test on).

I appreciate the comments, and agree that the framerates could definitely be higher. I think the only outstanding problem (as of 1.0.1) is fill, which is going to entail my chopping the terrain into pieces and doing some culling. Even so, I think the main frame rate issue was hiccups caused by a boneheaded mistake in my audio (which has been fixed).

Incidentally, framerate is capped at 30fps to maximize battery life. So if the game only "manages" 25fps it's because of occasional hiccups + the cap. It cheerfully does a LOT more without the cap, but you do want to use the phone for other stuff too.

Oh, and the new version is 17.7MB (at least as submitted to Apple). There's an overhead from the way Apple packages apps, but I sure hope it squeezes in under 20MB this time.

tl;dr the framerate issues should be at least partially addressed in 1.0.1 (which is in the queue).

Last edited by podperson; 09-14-2010 at 12:18 PM.
09-14-2010, 03:37 PM
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 590
This game reminds me of one of my favorite Amiga games in the late 80's. Starglider II . In that game though you could fly to other planets freely and the whole idea was to keep from a very powerful weapon being built on one of the planets which would destroy the universe or something like that. You flew through space and flying on a planet surface and in outer space was seemless. Little off topic but the graphics remind me of it so I will probably pick this up soon.
09-16-2010, 10:32 AM
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Tuscaloosa, AL ("Roll Tide")
Posts: 3
I've reduced Manta's regular price to $1.99 and made it free for the next couple of days, so please give it a shot. (And note that the 1.0.1 update is still in the approval queue.)

If you have feedback, please let me know I'm trying to make it as good as I can. (I remember Starglider 2 there's actually a "drone train" enemy that's not currently in use that's a bit reminiscent of one of the alien ships from Starglider 2.)
09-16-2010, 09:55 PM
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 237
First, thanks for making the game free to try.

I came back to this thread to post an "I don't get it" thought, then read the first post again, with app description. When I first played the game, it made no sense to me that I'd get the "mission complete" replacing my target objectives, but I was still going, shooting more things just because they were there. The only way to exit was to abort and destroy my ship, where I'd be back to the mission screen saying I'd successfully completed it. This made no sense to me, why would I have to abort when I'd completed the level. Usually when your mission is complete, it's complete.

Then I saw the app description line about returning to your ship or aborting to finish. Ah, now I get that I should really return to my ship to finish when my objective is complete. So I guess that the green diamond is my ship, since I'd fairly quickly figured out that the yellow/red diamonds were enemy indicators, and fly to where it is...and nothing. Then I see it's around another corner and another corner and after a couple more dead-ends, I find the ship and complete the level successfully.

The point of all that is that while the ship flies well enough--although I'd prefer a throttle over boost-only--I think the game would benefit from a little in-game explanation and mission enhancement. Explain--within the game--that after you complete the main mission objective that you can find your ship to finish, or you can keep shooting everything else if you want a higher score... While I could read app descriptions before downloading something, I don't normally expect to go back to iTunes to figure out how to play a game.
09-16-2010, 10:10 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Tuscaloosa, AL ("Roll Tide")
Posts: 3
Better mission feedback is a very good suggestion, and improvements along those lines are planned for 1.1.

I get the desire for a throttle (early versions had one), but i wanted to keep the controls minimalist. In a sense, dealing with the manta's velocity is part of the challenge. I guess it would be interesting to try a throttle with unforgiving collisions -- but that would be a very different game.

It's interesting that the reviews are kind of bipolar (three of the five star reviews are friends, but some are genuine). It makes me think that the problem is that I am not describing the game well (and instructions are lacking) so some people expect a different game and get ticked off when it isn't what they expect.

It's definitely been educational.