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N.O.V.A. 3 [Gameloft] – $6.99

One of the most successful development studios to ever hit the AppStore is, without a doubt, Gameloft. With over 100 iOS titles, and a $164 MILLION revenue, it’s hard to dispute that. Whether you hate or love em, they know what they’re doing, and have created some amazing titles. One of their most well-known and loved series has to be N.O.V.A. (Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance), releasing the 3rd title in the series earlier this year, this ‘Halo-Clone’ is one of the most popular games in the AppStore. The first N.O.V.A. won IGN’s Best Action Game of the Year, won Pocket Gamer’s Gold Award, and was praised by just about every review site known to the iOS gaming community. A year later, N.O.V.A. 2 – The Hero Rises Again, again won Pocket Gamer’s Gold Award, and was praised even more than the first. A year and a half after N.O.V.A. 2 hit, it was again time for Kal Warden to battle it out, this time, on Earth, in N.O.V.A. 3. 
Like the previous N.O.V.A. titles, N.O.V.A. 3 has both a single player campaign mode, as well as a multiplayer mode (both online and local wi-fi). The single player story mode contains 10 huge levels with about 6-8 hours of gameplay. Like the previous titles, the difficulty ramps up as you progress through the game at a pretty constant and manageable rate. Unfortunately, there are no separate difficulty settings like the previous 2 titles, though some might prefer this; you either can or can not beat the single player campaign, and beating it gives more a sense of completion, because you’ve gone through the exact same thing as everyone else. 
So, you might be asking yourself; ‘That’s nice and all, but is there anything in the way of rewards if I completely kick the games butt?’ Gameloft has thought of that too. N.O.V.A. 3 contains an in-game store, where you’re able to spend currency to procure some pretty unique weapons. At the end of each level, you’re rewarded with this currency depending on how well you preformed throughout the stage. This is a great addition, even though you’re also able to purchase the currency through IAPs, the reward for doing good is there. 
Now, what will really suck away most of your time is the online Multiplayer Mode. This time around, you’re able to have up to 12 players, which, for the iOS, is pretty impressive. Unfortunately, there are only 6 maps, but hopefully, like N.O.V.A. 2, more maps will be added in future updates. You are able to choose between 6 different gameplay modes; Free-For-All, Team Deathmatch, Freeze Tag, Capture The Flag, Capture The Point and InstaGib. You’re also able to set time and kill limits as well. Another aspect that makes the Multiplayer Mode great is that, for the first time, multiple players can jump into the same vehicle, allowing for loads of destruction. 
Not into Online gameplay? Not to worry. N.O.V.A. 3, carrying on with the N.O.V.A. story, has got to be the best title in the series. The graphics have had a pretty big step up from the last two, and the game plays more like an actual console game. I was very impressed on several occasions while making my way through the game, and was even reminded of F.E.A.R. 3 more than once (maybe this had to do with the slow-motion sections, I’m not sure). It’s definitely one of the very few First-Person-Shooters on the iOS that’s going to be a blast playing through a second, or even third time. The animations are also a huge step up from the last two, with fantastic explosions, smooth movement, and nice death scenes. 
Chances are, if you’re a fan of the genre, you’ve already picked this up. But on the off chance that you haven’t, you need to. N.O.V.A. 3 could very well be the best FPS available for the iDevice. Even though there are some issues, a lot of the Multiplayer problems have been fixed via the latest update (Version 1.0.1). There are pretty long loading times, though this is very understandable once you see what the game was loading, and there is some occasional slowdown during hectic gameplay, though nothing game-breaking, it’s worth noting. The online features do have some occasional lag, which results in players jumping around on screen, and some pretty nasty hit detection, but again, this is only occasional, and is not game-breaking. Like most online multiplayer games, there are issues to be worked out, as not every iDevice with every OS can be tested on, and things like how old your device is, how used it is, how much space you have, and your internet connection can all play parts in how a game runs on your device. But even with all of this being said; N.O.V.A. 3 is a blast, will only get better, and is highly recommended. Gameloft has once again provided a very well rounded FPS adventure. One that’s definitely worth experiencing. 

Master of Dungeon [Playbean] – $3.99

Ever since the release of CrimsonHeart, RPG fans have been looking for the next title to live up to the very high standards set by ANBSoft’s amazing title. Now, I won’t lie. Not one Action RPG title has made me come close to thinking of CrimsonHeart since. Until now. Playbean’s Master of Dungeon. What first brought on the memories of CrimsonHeart? The 360 degree movement. Yup, that’s really all it took. Once you play an Action RPG with 360 degree movement, all others seem stiff, and Playbean has nailed the movement, controls, and camera angles perfectly. The only question remaining; Does the rest of the game live up to the criteria of Crimsonheart? 
Master of Dungeon is a story about a place called World Tree. Light and Food is scarce, but the people of the land follow and believe in the Prophet, willing to do anything to please her. The English translation is pretty bad, and this isn’t helped by the text being broken up across lines (what a kawinkidink, just like CrimsonHeart!), but it’s understandable, and I never found myself at a loss for words not knowing what was going on in the story. Once you start you’re able to pick your class; Warrior, who has a strong physical attack with fencing skills and sword spheres, Assassin, who specializes in fist combat and is great when luck skills are increased, helping him find gold and rare item drops easier than the other classes, and the Wizard, who specializes in magic attacks and skills, and is better used at medium range instead of up close and personal.
Each different class has a different skill tree, and these skill trees are pretty extensive, offering up numerous skills to use and expand on, helping you immensely throughout the game. The skills you wind up choosing will play a major roll, effecting combat, and guiding how you control your characters from the beginning of the game. Unfortunately, the combat is not equal to CrimsonHearts. Running into a swarm of enemies and hacking and slashing your way through them will not severely drain your HP, or effectively kill you. Instead, mob management plays a roll, guiding enemies into large groups so that you can easily take them all out at once. This does, however, bring down the amount of grinding needed in order to level up, and because you’ll be leveling up fairly often, you will be spending quite a bit of time managing your skill tree. 
Master of Dungeon is set up so that you’ll constantly be visiting your tiny town in-between missions, talking to the townsfolk, progressing in the story, and starting new quests. Once you have your quests, there’s one exit out of the town, and it’s straight into a dungeon. When you start, you’re only able to go into one area of the dungeon, but as you progress, more areas will be opened, and you’ll be able to transport your character to these places directly, making it easier to navigate through the seemingly endless corridors of the world. Unfortunately, there’s not much in the way of environmental changes, which does have a pretty big impact on the game. Visiting essentially the same areas over and over again filled with different enemies does get a little boring after a while. 
The graphics and animations are reminiscent of CrimsonHeart, though not as extravagant, the attacking animations do contain a lot of flare, and utilizing the strengths of each class, they really do make you feel like a badass. The movement, death, and re-appearing animations are also well done, also having animations for various impacts like confusion, poison, and more, making the gameplay pretty flashy. Along with the great music and sound effects, it does create a fairly immersive gameplay experience. 
Priced at $3.99, and being Universal, it’s not a bad game by any means, and fans of the genre will love the 360 degree movement. It is better than CrimsonHeart? No. Not really. Is it better than most of the other Action RPGs out there? Yes. Yes it is. The 360 degree movement makes a huge difference in the gameplay, and even though it’s not equal to CrimsonHeart, I don’t think players want another game that’s exactly like CH, and I’m pretty sure Playbean knows this. There’s enough similarities to keep fans of CrimsonHeart satisfied, entertained, and hooked on the game, while also having enough differences to not be just a copy. Playbean has done a fantastic job here, and with a couple tweaks, it could rank right up there with CrimsonHeart as one of the best Action RPGs available in the AppStore. 

Blade of Darkness [Zealm] – $1.99

With the recent release of Pocket Heroes re-igniting my love for D&D parties, and bringing back memories of playing Diablo back in the late 90’s, I’ve been on a sort of quest of my own. To find all the Diabloesque and Fantasy Card games for the iOS that I can. Low and behold, one of the first titles I came across, and just can’t get enough of; Blade of Darkness – an open-world 3D RPG/hack-n-slash game developed by Zealm (developers of Monster Fight, Zombies Runner and Angry Zombie Ninja Vs. Vegetables). 
Blade of Darkness starts out with a pretty impressive cutscene giving you a bit of backstory; seems darkness overtook the land after a meteor shower rained down from the skies. Zombies and other undead creatures started to appear everywhere, and the darkness slowly spread. This land is appropriately named ‘Shadowland’. On the edge of Shadowland lies ‘Sanctuary‘; a campsite set up where a small patch of sunlight hit’s the ground. It’s here that you’ll begin your journey. 
Actually, I guess I should say ‘it’s here where you’ll figure out what you’re supposed to be doing throughout the rest of the game.’ The tutorial is made up of 3 pop-ups. One telling you that the joystick in the lower left corner is for movement, another saying that the icon to the right is for jumping, and that to talk to people, you walk up to them and tap on them. Trust me, you won’t forget. Every time you come back to Sanctuary, you’ll need to go through the ‘tutorial’ before you get started again. From here on out, you’re on your own.
After figuring out that people in town with a “!” above their heads have a quest to send you on, you can try and figure out how to get out of Sanctuary. Turns out there’s a pathway right behind where you start from that leads out to two different warp areas, and from here, now you can start your journey. Your first task requires that you go to the East to find the wife of a wizard at camp. It seems they were separated, and he needs you to find her. Unfortunately, leaving the campsite will only take you South, through cemeteries, dungeons, and other dark lands which are full of undead creatures. Directions aren’t really accurate, and there will be quite a bit of exploring involved. 
The battle system is in real time, and is kind of reminiscent of CrimsonHeart. If you just run into a pack of enemies slinging your sword around, you’ll find yourself in trouble fairly quickly. Standing back and luring a couple of enemies towards you, and watching how they attack and block will be a valuable asset to learn early on in the game. Running around to the back of enemies helps you avoid their shields, and can give you some massive hits. Of course, not all of the enemies require this tactic. There are some that will just stand there while you walk right up to them and bash their heads in. It’s all part of the combat system dance. I guess. Once you start killing enemies, they’ll start dropping gold and other items, and you can get your loot on. Figuring out how to pick items up is another task that you’ll need to figure out on your own. I’ll help you out; Tapping on the item inside the window that pops up will put it in your equipment pack.
Don’t get me wrong. Once you figure everything in Blade of Darkness out, it’s really a fun game. But sticking with it through all of the figuring it out will be taxing, and currently priced at $0.99, there are going to be some people who just give up, and delete the game. But if you’re willing to stick it out, and not afraid to learn basically the whole UI on your own, the hack-n-slash, loot driven, Diablo reminiscent gameplay can be very rewarding. Finding those rare items, and beating the hell out of hundreds of enemies is great fun. You’re also able to play in CO-OP mode, which has the game controlling another hero along side you, Multiplayer Mode, where you can host or join another game, as well as an Arena Mode where you can battle other players online. Lets just hope that Zealm sells enough copies to be driven to keep the updates coming, because if they do, Blade of Darkness could turn into one hell of a Diabloesque title, and maybe even one of the top loot driven games on the iOS. 

Jewels With Buddies [Stofle Designs] – FREE

A couple of months ago, I wouldn’t have really called myself an online multiplayer fan. But with all of the great MP games being released lately, I’ve definitely been turned into one. Now, being a pretty big fan of Match-3 games, and with this new-found enjoyment of online gameplay, Stofle Designs Jewels with Buddies has wound up in my current rotation of games that I play every day. Battling it out against another player, trying to get the best combined score for 3 rounds of match-3 mayhem is a lot more fun than I thought it would be.
Once you register, or connect to your Facebook profile, you’re able to start games with friends from yoru contacts list, find a random buddy, have a rematch with someone you’ve already played, search for a username, or have a pass-n-play session with a friend on the same device. 
As you play, you’ll earn coins. These are used to pick power-up animals who are able to help you out throughout your game, and also to take spins on the slots. Each animal has a different ability, and is charged up by making certain types of matches while you play. For instance, the Panda Bear eats a whole row of gems and is charged up when you make white matches, while the Elephant destroys half of the board, and is recharged by matching purple gems, and so on. 

The scoring system is definitely a plus. With each match you make, you earn points, and if there’s a coin inside one of the gems, you’ll gain coins as well. But if you keep making matches quickly, the amount of points you’ll earn will keep rising. There are also multipliers randomly found on the gems which increase as time counts down. If you tap the gems with a multiplier before making a match with them, the multiplier will be applied to that match. 
You’re given 3 rounds, each being 60 seconds long, to earn as many points as you can. After each round, your score is sent to the other player, and then you wait for them to play a round and send it back. I haven’t ever had this much fun with a match-3 MP game. Witch Wars and Matching With Friends both seemed way too unbalanced, and pushed towards IAP, and Syntax Match, while decent, is a little too difficult when it comes to quickly finding matches because of the tiles used. Don’t get me wrong, there are IAPs included in Jewels with Friends, and if you want the best animal power-ups every time you play, you’ll probably need to purchase some coins, but with the coins earned at a decent rate, and being able to choose some of the better animals every 3 or so games, even without purchasing IAPs, it’s very well balanced, and doesn’t feel like you’re constantly being pushed towards the IAPs, which is becoming more and more rare with free games. 
So, if you’re looking for an online asynchronous match 3 title, you should definitely check out Jewels with Friends. Even though there’s no extra modes, and no single player gameplay, what is there is done very well, and priced at FREE, there’s really no reason not to give it a try. It’s definitely a title that’ll wind up staying on my device for quite some time. 

Great Big War Game [Rubicon] – $2.99

One of the biggest titles in iOS Turn-Based Strategy games, ironically enough named Great Little War Game, has finally come out with the sequel, Great Big War Game, and this time, Rubicon isn’t messing around. Including 50 single player campaign missions, a whole slew of skirmish maps, Pass & Play gameplay, and probably the biggest feature; Asynchronous Online Multiplayer. Great BIG War Game, indeed. 
For those of you familiar with GLWG, Great Big War Game is basically more of the same. But those those of you who love GLWG, that is in no way a bad thing. At all. Great Big War Game picks up where the updates for GLWG left off, with more war advancing escapades from the General, Jenkins, and this time, a new female character, Candy. You’re also outfitted with more units, more vehicles, and, in general, just a whole lot more. For those of you who haven’t been lucky enough to experience the great gameplay of GLWG in the past, Great Big War Game is a turn-based strategy game that has you going up against the enemy, running a muck in turn-based warfare. It’s gameplay is simple enough that newcomers to the genre can dive right in, but gets complex enough that hardcore fans of TBS gameplay will still have a challenge. And now, with Online MP, you’ll be able to have even more endless replay value, with players of all skill types. 
Now, along with the 50 Single Player Campaign stages, Skirmish Mode and Online MP Mode both have quite a few maps to play with. The game comes with 15 Maps, and has 3 more Map Packs available for purchase through IAP. Each of the Map Packs costs $1.99, and including a little something special. The War Chest Pack gives you 15 maps, and 150 Battle Points, which are points that you can earn in-game to permanently upgrade your troops for Campaign Mode, and clear the Fog of War. Map Pack 1 gives you 20 maps, and a new vehicle type, a flame shooting tank, while Map Pack 2 gives you another 20 maps, and a medic who can heal all your troops on the field. Rubicon has already stated that more maps will be added to these Map Packs, so if you purchase them now, you’ll get even more maps for free in future updates. I guess now would be a good time to mention that Rubicon’s support for Great Little War Game has been outstanding, and they have added quite a few maps to that game over the course of it’s time on the AppStore as well, so this isn’t just another empty promise from a developer who’s support has been questionable in the past, or a new-comer to the scene, who promises content, and then later on down the road says that sales we’re adequate to keep the updates coming (which is understandable, but always disappointing). 
The Online Multiplayer is handled through Rubicon’s own servers, and even though some might prefer GameCenter, this allows for cross-platform play. That’s right. You can play GBWG online on your iPad against a friend who’s playing on an Android. Soon enough, GBWG will be available for the PC, Mac, as well as the BBPlaybook, which means that there’s the potential of hundreds of thousands of players available for online play. What makes it even better, is that you don’t exactly need to know anyone in order to add friends to your list. Once you type in a name, for example, Paul, all of the gamers who have started their online name with ‘Paul’ will be listed and available to add to your friends list. So even those of you dying to play online, but who don’t know anyone, can still have a fairly good chance of finding online players. Surprisingly enough, I also haven’t run into any issues with the online play. There’s almost always bugs and issues which developers couldn’t have caught during the Beta Testing, but Rubicon has obviously put a lot of time and effort into squashing all the bugs and getting rid of all the issues they possibly could, which is basically unheard of with iOS MP titles. 
The controls in GBWG are great, and really, some of the best I’ve seen in a strategy title on the iOS. To move your units, you tap on them, and then tap on where you want to move them to, and the same goes for vehicles, while scrolling the map is done with a one finger drag, and zooming in and out is done by pinching and pulling. To see where your units can attack, you just need to hold down on the unit in question. Your typical TBS controls, I guess. But what makes them stand out is that I’ve never had an instance where my character didn’t move to a location right next to where I wanted it to, I’ve also never had a character shoot an enemy target I wasn’t targeting, and the units have never moved while selected, and while I’ve been dragging the map around. Responsive controls remove a lot of un-necessary frustration from games, and here, they’re very smooth and very responsive. 
The graphics are a bit cartoony, but the animations are great. The explosions, taking aim and firing, getting hit, running around the maps, it’s all animated beautifully, and even though it is a little cartoony, the game becomes very immersive because of how great it looks and plays. The music and sound effects are also top notch, with some typical war time music, and units calling out ‘On point!’ ‘Bag ‘em & tag ‘em!’ ‘You need me?’ and more, it’s easy to get sucked into their world of obeying orders, and doing what you can for your side in order to win. 
With Great Big War Game priced at $2.99, and being Universal, it’s a great buy. There’s loads of content with your original purchase, and even more available if you’re wanting to throw a couple more bucks down, and Rubicon is a fantastic developer who has shown awesome support for their previous games, which makes it easy to want to support them in return. The endless play offers up the possibility of GBWG never being removed from your device, and as a sequel of one of the best TBS titles in iOS gaming, that possibility is multiplied by the great gameplay. Rubicon has definitely done it again, and I can’t wait to get knee deep into the online play, and get to learn all of the maps. If you’re a fan of the genre, GBWG is definitely a game you NEED to own. Finding another Strategy game with the amount of charm and astounding gameplay on the iOS is near impossible. 

Bounty Racer [The Quadsphere] – $1.99

The Quadsphere has been one of my favorite development teams since I got a 2nd gen Touch. Their awesome shmup, Icarus-X has always been one of my favorites, and FMX Riders is a great Motocross Racer. But after not really hearing anything from them for a while, I was surprised when their newest release, Bounty Racer, hit the AppStore. 
For those of you who have FMX Riders, you’ll be familiar with the menu setup and UI. It’s almost exactly the same. You have the option to flip the screen, which is great considering the game starts up-side-down, but unfortunately, this still leaves everything like pop-up notifications and GameCenter pop-ups at the bottom of the screen, which means that they wind up covering the controls, and can result in accidental game exits. 
The control set-up is also exactly the same, you can choose between auto and manual acceleration, as well as tilt, stick and button control schemes, with a tilt sensitivity option thrown in for good measure. The tilt controls work very well, as does the stick, though I prefer the button set-up, especially when playing on the iPad. Drifting is done easily by pressing the brake button while you’re turning. This, along with getting air from jumps and by using the environment, fills up your nitro gauge. Once it’s filled, you’re able to press the nitro button, and boost ahead. You’re also able to stack your boosts, which is fantastic. 
There are 3 gameplay modes to choose from; Single Player, Bounties and Multiplayer. The Single Player Mode gives you 4 separate leagues which you can choose from, Rookie, Pro, Master and Elite, though Rookie is the only league which is unlocked at first, and as you progress through the game, earning stars in each race, you’ll unlock the harder leagues. In each league, there are 6 tracks with 3 different types of races in each; Race, which is your typical race against 5 other AI characters, Collect, which gives you 60 seconds to collect as many stars on the track as you can. This is the only mode which you do not need to follow the typical track layout, and do not need to cross the finish line. Your only goal is to find and collect all the stars you can in 1 minute. Elimination is the last type of race, and this is your typical elimination mode. You’ll need to race the other AI characters, and try to never be in last place when you cross the finish line, or else the race is over. Each track has 9 available stars, with 3 for each type of race. 
In Bounty Mode, you’ll be able to race against other GameCenter players, trying to get the best time you can in each league’s track. Multiplayer is handled with GameCenter, and has auto-matching as well as the option to match up through your GC friend’s list. It allows up to 4 players to race each-other, and is probably where most of your time will be spent, after playing enough of the Single Player Mode to buy one bad-ass car in each league. Each race lets you save a replay, and you can also upload these replays directly to YouTube from inside the app, which is a great feature. I actually wish more games would allow for this to be done.
Every race has the potential to give you quite a few coins, and you can use these coins to purchase more karts. However, you’re only able to purchase karts which are available for that league, but this also means that as you progress through the game, better karts with better stats will become available to you. There are IAPs available for extra coins, but the pricing for the karts is great, needing to only go through about 5 races to get the best racer available in that league, but you can also buy a better-than-your-default-kart after the first race, so long as you come in first place. So basically, the IAP coins are there to help support the developers, if you so choose to. 
There are some additions which would have made the game a bit better, being able to hold it’s head high next to the top Kart Racers in the AppStore; Having a mini-map, or progression bar in the HUD would have been a fantastic addition. There have been so many times while playing when I wanted to know where the other racers were, or how close they were to me. I know there’s nitro boosters, but also having some sort of power-up or special item system would have made the game awesome, though it probably would have made it seem a little too kart racer-ish, I guess you could say, this is a Kart Racer, and without it, the gameplay just doesn’t seem as action-packed. 
Now, even though the player UI and menus are basically recycled from FMX Riders, there are quite a few iOS developers which do this, and it doesn’t really bother me. However, if it does bother you, you might want to keep that in mind when thinking about purchasing Bounty Racer. Being Universal and priced at $1.99, it’s a fantastic deal. There’s endless replay value, a wide array of karts, some great level design, very polished graphics, though not many animations or extra effects, like dirt, snow or water flying up, it’s still a very well made Kart Racer, with some great gameplay. If you liked FMX Riders, Bounty Racer is a game you’ll enjoy just as much, if not more so. The Bounty Mode does add some pretty competitive gameplay, and being able to upload your replays directly to YouTube is awesome, but if you’re looking for another Sonic type Racer, this isn’t really going to appease you. But if you’re a fan of the genre, this is definitely a great game to have in your collection. 

Warm Gun – 4.99 (Emotional Robots)

Multiplayer games on mobile devices have become a pretty big deal, especially within the first and third person shooter genres. I remember starting off with Eliminate, then moving onto Archetype, Exo-Planet, NOVA and Modern Combat. Now multiplayer fanatics have a new title to obsess over; Warm Gun by Emotional Robots, the first to use the Unreal Engine and it’s amazing graphics capabilities.

When Warm Gun was first released, it had quite a few framerate issues, making the game almost unplayable, even in it’s offline mode, but the developers over at E.R. released a patch updating the performance extremely quickly, and now gamers have a semi-playable version to blast away and talk smack through, though it still needs some performance tweaking, and because of that, it’s pretty hard to find someone online to play with. Not to worry though, because the Emotional Robots dev team is still hard at work to optimize the game and are trying to make it run as smooth as possible before doing anything else in regards to adding content.
You are able to play on or off line. In offline mode, you are able to choose between 5 different environments, each with different places to hide, open areas to battle it out, and different stories to climb up to and jump down from. You are also able to choose between 4 different characters; The 49’er, who has a pistol, shotgun, and Molotov cocktail. The Blacksmith, who has a HUGE hammer, massive machine gun, and exploding cans. The Shaman, who is equipped with an electrocution stick, SMG, and exploding bottles, and last, but not at all least, The Preacher, who wields dual pistols, a riffle, and also has exploding bottles. Each of the characters has their own strengths and weaknesses, and which one you pick and get comfortable with will depend on your style of play, but rest assured, there is a character for you. Offline Mode runs very smooth, and is a great place to learn the maps, and each of the different characters, and until the multiplayer mode picks up, and more players get online, as well as the framerate issues get fixed, you can expect to play in Offline Mode quite a bit.
Online Mode is the same for Offline Mode, except which map you play in is chosen by the game, and where you will see the biggest issue for the Emotional Robots team; lag/framerate isues. Because of the framerate issues, it makes it very hard to play online. Your character will jump around quite a bit, and dying when there is no one in front of you, and then all of a sudden a character appears there after you die is a very common occurrence. Also something that most players do not like about online play is that you are not given any stats after your match, so you’ll have no idea what your kill/death ratio was, or anything like that. However, one thing I was very glad to see is that there is no leveling up or experience points in the game, meaning that no matter who you’re matched up with, the game starts out on a level playing field. You will never have to worry about being matched with level 10 or 20 characters while you are a level 1 or 2, or anything like that, so once the issues are fixed, and there’s people actually playing online (as of now, you might be able to find one or two people playing online every 8 or 9 times you start up the game), the online play could really be something special. Also, online battles go through GameSpy, and not through GameCenter, which is better than great news, as GameCenter multiplayer matching is hell to deal with, and GameSpy servers are prepared, and stable enough to handle the onslaught of players that Warm Gun is expected to have in the future.
So, now to the graphics. As always, using the Unreal Engine results in some amazing, console-like graphics. The shadowing is great, and offers nice places to hide, the buildings and objects all have some amazing textures, and everything in the game has quite a bit of detail. The smooth running offline play is something you could feel great about showing off to your friends, and gives hope that more talented developers will start using the Unreal Engine in the future, as it really makes the long loading times and basic looking graphics of Game Salad and other engines pale in comparison.
For controls right now, there are 3 options. One joystick, dual sticks, or 3 joysticks, and all are able to use swiping on the screen to move, as well as tapping on the screen to fire. You can hold down the second or third joystick on the last two control options and keep firing while moving your crosshairs with pretty good precision. However, when moving around, and swiping on the screen, once you let go, you will keep spinning a little bit, making the precision for finding a character, stop movement and start firing pretty frustrating. The developers are looking into this though, and are working on implementing more of a Modern Combat type control scheme.
The big question, is Warm Gun worth the price? $5.00 for a Universal version, using the Unreal Engine, and, after the issues are taken care of, and people start actually getting online, what could possibly be the best multiplayer experience, surpassing even Modern Combat 2. It’s probably better to look at is as an investment. The developers are extremely active on the Touch Arcade forums, and are listening to feedback from every member who is posting there. They are hard at work on fixing the performance issues, as well as making the controls nice and tight, and giving players as many control options as they can, giving players the option to start up and host their own games, and adding more content to the game. When it is completed, what you will have is one of the most amazing online multiplayer FPS titles to ever come along on any mobile gaming device. Right now, it’s nice to have it to learn the maps, and characters, in preparation for when the game is stable enough for smooth and solid online play. If you’re a huge fan of multiplayer gameplay, Warm Gun is a must buy. If you’re still teetering on the idea of buying it, you should check out the companion title, Warm Gun: Carnival of Bullets; which is a sort of training course for Warm Gun. In it, you can get use to the controls, check out the brilliant graphics, and get to know the characters. You will not have access to the original title’s maps, but you will be able to get a really good feel for the game. But if you want instant gratification, you might be better off waiting for an update or two.
Warm Gun gets a score of 7 out of 10.
Version Reviewed; Version 1.04
Reviewed On; 4th Generation iPod Touch – iOS 4.3.3