As is often the case with games on iDevices, in Atlantis Sky Patrol, the fate of the world depends on your index finger. Doomsday devices have been planted in 111 different international locations, and the only way to stop them is to complete a series of puzzles that involve shooting marblelike pieces to match three like-colored marbles to clear them (also known as "match-three marble-shooting"). This globetrotting adventure doesn't involve seeing the sights, but it does offer loads of fun.
Atlantis Sky Patrol is a riff on this sort of genre, but it takes things one step further. Once again, the goal is to destroy the colorful lines of balls that are regularly pumped into the mazelike playing field. To stop the progression of the balls, you glide your ship along the bottom of the screen and fire into the line to make three like-colored balls in a row. Once you do that, they'll disappear.
Atlantis Sky Patrol adds an interesting twist to the match-three marble-shooting formula: Clusters of stationary balls on each stage must be destroyed to stop new lines from entering into the playing field. This adds some interesting depth to the gameplay because you must constantly decide between focusing on the lines of balls advancing toward the exit and eradicating the stationary balls.
Another unique feature is the permanent upgrade system. With the money you earn in each level, you can purchase upgrades that increase the speed of your shots, make your ship magnetic to the falling power-ups and money, or slow the frequency of new lines of balls rolling into the playing field. These upgrades are a great incentive to keep playing because they noticeably affect the gameplay.
There are also other creative elements in many of the levels, such as mobile blockades that thwart your shots, curved tracks that your ship glides over to make aiming more challenging, and reflective obstacles that you can use to ricochet your shots.
While Atlantis Sky Patrol's gameplay works very well, it does have some minor issues. Specifically, your finger often impedes your view of the screen, making it difficult to see which color ball you have on tap. Also, you can swap out the ball you're going to fire next by shaking your handset, but it's a bit awkward to shake while holding your finger on the screen. Still, neither of these issues really makes the game all that less enjoyable.
Atlantis Sky Patrol's music and graphics are superb. The visuals have an art deco style that give the game an early 20th-century feel, and the story is delivered via newspaper headlines as in the movies of that era. There's even a cool (if easy) minigame to help you rack up money every five levels.
If you're at all interested in games of this sort, you should definitely play Atlantis Sky Patrol. It's every bit as good as any other such game on the market, and it also improves on the formula in several important ways. And if you've never played a match-three marble shooting game, this is the perfect place to start.
This review was provided by GameSpot mobile content partner SlideToPlay.com.