Crow (Sunside Inc.) – $4.99
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Zombie games run wild on the App Store, but that’s not to say that they are growing old. Combat Arms: Zombies, by Nexon Mobile, is the newest addition to the zombie genre. Expanding on the PC version of Combat Arms, Nexon Mobile comes close to rivaling the thrilling action of the CoD Zombies series but falls short in the end.
For those of you familiar with Combat Arms, the biggest thing to note is that this is built somewhat like a free-to-play game. The biggest difference is that it does not include all of the annoying aspects of a free-to-play game. No ads, no forced IAPs, none of that. Instead you get a wide arsenal of weapons to unlock/buy and various other equipment to help you survive against the horde. What do I mean by “wide arsenal”? I mean 300+ authentic weapons. BOOM.
Since this is a First Person Shooter with Zombies, it is a given that the gameplay is wave-based. Obviously, zombies like to play fair and give you a little break after you get done killing their friends. They would never mob you incessantly (sarcasm?). The wave-based gameplay that drives most zombie games is wonderful in practice, but in Combat Arms it can be a bit of a fun-block. The thing about the waves in Combat Arms: Zombies is that the early rounds are just plain boring. Even if you have never played a game before they are boring. To make matters worse, the difficulty settings don’t affect the number of zombies, only the toughness of the zombies and the number of waves. No matter how you look at it, every time you play the game you will have to play through the early rounds before you actually get to the good part. Fortunately, the good part is really GOOD. Access new areas, kill new zombies (the boss zombies look really freaky), and have a jolly good rampage.
Unfortunately, there is no multiplayer support at the moment, and we can only hope that this will be added in the future. As a game built on the Unreal Engine 3 (which is relatively new on iOS), Combat Arms: Zombies plays far better than several others of its kind. The graphics are amazing and the 5 control schemes allow for anyone to play comfortably. Of course, improvements are always welcome and in particular I would love to see more maps, more zombie types, more guns, multiplayer, and a way to skip right to the action. If you want to shoot some zombies, grab Combat Arms while it is still available at the Holiday Price ($4.99)
Exploritory Metroidvania-type games are a pretty big rarity in the AppStore, but those that can be found are extremely well made. Glowfish, by MumboJumbo (Luxor, 7 Wonders), is no exception to this. You’ll guide Glowfish through 50+ levels, finding all the little glowing fish you can use as your shield, defeating interesting enemies, exploring the depths for hidden areas, collecting coins, and gaining friends that you can take along with you, lending their abilities.
Are you looking for a free roam space exploration game? Get Galaxy on Fire 2. If not, read on and find out about Galaxy Pirate Adventure [by Sunfish Studio], available on the iTunes Store for $4.99.
GPA is, exactly as the name implies, an adventure about pirates. In space. You are the son of the great Pirate King Alexander and it is time for you to make your mark on the world! The story unfolds in cut-scenes through text boxes – no voice acting here. For the most part it’s well-told, but suffers from occasional issues that have become the hallmark of mis-translations.
The game boasts a 40+ hour campaign and I can believe that – having already sunk more than 20 over the last few days. Without spoiling anything, the plot so far has been easy to follow and the story is interesting enough, albeit not very deep. I suspect this is intentional though, as progress is constantly broken up by side missions.
Looking at the screenshots, you may be forgiven for thinking that the game takes place in an open-world setting, like the aforementioned Galaxy on Fire – and a lot of users on iTunes have made that mistake already. Here’s how it works: there are spaceports (40, in fact) that you travel between. At each one, your ships hang outside and you are free to look around at the absolutely gorgeous scenery. To avoid confusion, while panning around you can find icons indicating nearby planets as well as one to “dock”. Inside each station you will find find options to modify your fleet, a market, missions and a factory where you can order ships or buy equipment for them.
Purchasing new ships has been a mixed experience for me – you need to raise the cash required, as well as find enough materials. You only get these from missions and more than once I’ve wondered why I can’t just buy the scarce ones with the comparatively limitless cash. It’s a small nuisance though.
There are 6 different tiers of ship – each of which has a distinct size, range, power and slots for weapons and equipment. These slots allow for some great customization. Do you want your ship to be faster, or have more armor? Missiles or lasers?
Missions come in four different flavors: Smuggling (where you ferry goods between spaceports), Robbery (taking ships down to acquire special goods), Mercenary (doing others’ dirty work for them) and Story missions which are a blend of the others.
The combat missions are the only time you get to control your ship and this is where things get interesting. On the left there are buttons for switching targets (the game automatically lock onto the ship of your choice), approaching or moving away from your target. Range is crucial, as different weapons can have different ranges.
Once you’ve equipped your ship, weapon icons will appear in a neat row on the bottom. But the enemies aren’t there for target practice, and will shoot back. Fortunately, you have a shield. Unfortunately, it draws a large chunk of your energy. Each shot draws some energy from the same pool, so the combat becomes an interesting game of cat-and-mouse where you approach the enemy, take a few potshots, and retreat out of firing range to recover.
The enemy AI is effective, but occasionally predictable. They will shield when you fire and will consistently try to chase you down. I found the higher tiers of ships much more aggressive though, so the combat doesn’t feel bland as you might think from a curt description.
In short, I played the heck out of this attractive-looking game and still haven’t reached the end. The customization depth is staggering and potentially significantly changes the battles. If you’re interested in a lengthy adventure (in space, no less) that’s a little out of the ordinary, for iOS at least, don’t hesitate to give it a shot. Well worth the price of admission.
P.S. Do you find yourself forgetting where everything is? Check out this handy guide.
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.