Solar Minotaur Rescue Frenzy, best known as Minotaur Rescue, is a top-down space shooter for iPad
devices. It was created by Jeff Minter
and is in essence a trippy combinations of Space War!
. It is also the first game in the Minotaur Project
series, that is currently being created by Llamasoft
, Minter's company.
The game was released on January 5th, 2011 as an iOS Universal app
, working on both the iPhone and the iPad. Additionally, the game features support for both Openfeint
and Apple's Game Center
, adding leaderboards
for all modes and achievements
In lieu of the game's look and feel, it also features a retro style of gameplay that reminds of the classic Space shooters like Asteroids and is combined with a more modern touch thanks to various additions, like a Geometry Wars
-like black hole
, that can consume everything on the screen.
The main goal of the game, is to collect (aka rescue) as many Minotaurs as possible, before your lives
run out. The challenge comes in thanks to the wide array of objects that disturb in this process. In the basic game, the center of the screen holds a sun
, that -with quite a low gravity- sucks all objects on screen, including the player, towards it. If it manages to suck in enough stuff, it implodes into a black hole
, increasing this gravity even further!
Other objects that may make the life of the player a little bit harder, are a range of asteroids, ufo's
-that shoot at the player and occasionally lay down mines
- and many more threats. Luckily, the player's is equipped with a Rapid-Fire Laser
, that obliterates everything on it's path, allowing for the player to focus on the task at hand, collecting Minotaurs
. To make navigation in the middle of all this a bit more interesting, leaving the screen on one side, causes you to appear on the other side, Asteroids
The controls of the game are completely touch-based
: The player controls his/her ship by touch and then swiping in the direction they wish to travel. This works regardless of the ship's position, so the game features single screen multiplayer, with the iPhone
versions supporting up to Two players and the iPad
version allowing for up to four players to each control their individual ship.
The game features two level-layout, one with the sun in the middle and the other without the looming threat of the yellow object. The game has two modes per level, the 'regular mode', where the player works his way through waves of enemies and minotaurs and in this manner advancing through a series of levels. The game ends with the player running out of lives.
Other optional modes are 'Tanks!
', which places various objects in the playing field and puts the player up to each other, in the style of the Atari 2600
. The 'Jets!' mode is also based on Combat
, giving each player control of multiple spaceships.
Look and Feel
The aesthetics of the game are essentially lifted directly from the Atari 2600 versions of Asteroids
and Combat. The blocky look is combined with Minter's familiar trippy art-style, like seen before in his previous title: Space Giraffe
. This look comes from the Neon 2 Game Engine
, upon which the game is built. It's a refined version of the Neon 'Light Synthesizer' Engine,
that powers Space Giraffe
and Xbox 360
's Music Visualizer, built in the system. The look can be clearly recognized by the fading effects and the bright colors, that change a long with the gameplay.
Accompanying the looks, the game also features a retro-style soundscape that refers back all the way to the Commodore 64 and the VIC 20
. The game does not feature any music, but the overwhelming amount of bleeps, bloops and grunts of the Minotaurs
make sure that the game never falls quiet.
The sequel to Minotaur Rescue is called Minotron, which is based on the Llamasoft title Llamatron, which was in it's turn a clone of Robotron