I haven’t been able to get into most of the shooters on touch devices, but Shadowgun by Madfinger games definitely does things right. It’s a fast and furious shooter with some of the most drop dead gorgeous graphics I’ve seen on the iPhone and iPad, powered by the Unity Engine.
The game’s plot and setting should sound familiar to any and all gamers. It’s the future, corporations rule everything, and a mad scientist is making his own personal army of mutant cyborgs. The environment is very reminiscent of games like Quake, but the game play is basically a simplified version of Gears of War, with cover based, “stop and pop” gameplay. The refrigerator sized man you control in this game is called John Slade, a mercenary/bounty hunter known as a Shadowgun. Slade has a lady robot partner named S.A.R.A., who is basically an adjutant from the Starcraft universe. Most of the important dialogue and information comes from S.A.R.A. throughout each mission. Overall the story may not tread new ground, but it happens to be told very well, with some great voice performances.
The gameplay is simple but engaging. You automatically move into cover by running into it. The cover system is easy to use and avoids any hassle, but it’s also very limited, and only very specific objects will work as cover. It should also be noted that lots of cover is destructible, and will leave you vulnerable after a few seconds of fire. Most enemies are idiots who either make extremely predictable movements or just stand out in the open, waiting politely for your bullets to rip them apart. Missions are all very linear, taking you from firefight to firefight, but they’re broken up by some very interesting boss encounters. Some of the checkpoints are very badly placed, causing you to fight through several minutes of game play to get back to whatever killed you in the first place. Each level is littered with hidden secret items, which translate to unlockable extras. As far as I can tell, almost every extra just explains various people, places, and things having to do with this universe. This fleshes the world out a bit more, which is always nice to see.
Madfinger is better known for the Samurai games, which are very stylized and colorful. While they’ve decided to go for photo realism with this new game, the style still translates over. The levels are all littered with color, which makes this game look like a gem in a sea of brown and grey military shooters. The game is honestly one of the best looking I’ve ever seen on a mobile device, and I’m sure this video isn’t doing it justice.
Shooter enthusiasts will likely breeze through this game. The firefights tend to lack variety, and become repetitive. The guns are all cool and useful in their own way, but the starting rifle is easily the most versatile gun thanks to its range and accuracy. Some kind of multiplayer mode is surprisingly absent from the game, leaving only the single player campaign. Hopefully, multiplayer can be added at some point in the future since this game is screaming for it, but at least Game Center achievements are supported.
Everything from the graphics to the sound is top notch, and while the heavy metal soundtrack may be uninspired, it definitely gets the job done. This is a solid title for any shooter fan. The game comes in at eight dollars, which would considered expensive anyway, but considering the fact that it’s single player only, many people may not feel like it’s worth the asking price. Still, it’s an iOS universal title which does a lot of things right. Check it out.
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