Developer: Kerosene Games
Price: $4.99
Version: 1.1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4s

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

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Bounty Arms is an action platformer in which players take control of one of three bounty hunters and fight robots to earn coins. While the game is quite breathtaking on a mobile device, the game has some issues with its controls that make it not as enjoyable as it might be on another device with physical controls.

To play Bounty Arms, players choose whether they want to play as the rocket-toting alien “Goober,” satellite-shaped robot Flux Helix, or roughneck Drake Mass and then go through the game’s 10 levels, shooting everything in sight, collecting coins, and unleashing powerful special abilities. Characters are controlled via a virtual joystick and players can shoot, jump, or activate abilities with the on screen buttons on the bottom right side of the screen.

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Although 10 levels seems rather sparse, Bounty Arms is a surprisingly replayable experience. Progress through each level rewards players with coins and gems which can then be used to upgrade characters through purchasing pets and additional abilities for said pets. In addition the game provides multiple difficulty levels, which can either add or reduce challenge to vary up the experience.

Perhaps the most compelling thing about Bounty Arms, however, is the way it looks. The game has a cool post-apocalyptic style and the characters, environments, and enemies are all extremely detailed. This makes traversing through the game and exploring areas all the more fun. It has got to be one of the best looking games I’ve seen on my iPhone in a long time.

On the flip side of things, though, I wish Bounty Arms was as fun to play as it was to look at. The virtual joystick and on screen buttons are sometimes just too bothersome to deal with. This is a classic problem with many iOS versions of more traditional video games, and in the case of Bounty Arms, the control problems seem on par with most other problematic “virtualized controller” games, meaning not a particularly poor implementation, but not a particularly good one either. I guess players used to this control scheme could be able to roll with it, but I found myself dying several times thanks to control issues.

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Fortunately, Bounty Arms is forgiving when it comes to character death. Instead of a game-over screen, the game simply teleports players back to their most recent checkpoint where they can begin playing anew. The game also doesn’t seem to fully repopulate areas with enemies either, so very little progress is lost upon dying. That being said, dying in Bounty Arms also diminishes the rewards earned at the end of a level.

Overall, Bounty Arms is a compelling package with frustrating controls, making it a fairly disappointing title. If players are comfortable with control styles like this, Bounty Arms might be worthwhile, but otherwise, I’d stay away.

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