Developer: China Wireless Arts
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4S

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Here in America, guns and cute animals are both pretty high on the list of things people can’t seem to do without. Armed Beasts makes the brilliant decision of putting them together. Its slick, enthusiastic presentation successfully masks what might have ended up a mediocre dual-stick shooter.

From the opening text explaining how the world is in peril and only the player can save it, Armed Beasts feels like an anime. It’s the only art form that can present something as crazy as a team of extreme gun-toting bunnies and dogs “fighting for their dreams and ambitions” with nothing but utter sincerity. The energy is infectious though and carries over into the game’s vibrant visuals. The Unity-powered 3D environments, while small, have a bright, almost cel-shaded graphical style and although certain objects are too boxy overall it’s a pleasant game to look at. The game has a variety of enemies ranging from zombies to skeletons to giant bats with vampires faces. There’s a nice diversity of environments too as players will travel from the beach to snowy plains to the Moon complete with an American flag. And of course, the whole thing is set to a rock soundtrack so bad it’s great.

Beyond all of the aesthetic weirdness though, Armed Beasts is just a pretty typical wave-based dual-stick shooter. Players can have their character shoot automatically or turn on manual targeting. Either way though the touch controls never feel that responsive. New characters and weapon upgrades can be unlocked with real money or in-game money but even power-ups as radical as the energizing growth potions don’t really change how the game plays. There is an occasional minigame where players must gun down as many sheep as possible while avoiding their leader but all it’s short, repetitive and only really good for earning extra cash.

Still, surviving enemy onslaughts as pistol-packing monkeys and cats is just an inherently fun idea that Armed Beasts effectively executes on. Plus, it’s free, so it’s not like there’s anything to lose.

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