Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2, iPod touch 5
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
ErnCon is an online multiplayer top-down shooter that has some interesting ideas and fun gameplay at its core, but it winds up being often too barren to be all that fun.
This is a basic top-down shooter, where the player controls a ship that can be moved with the virtual joystick, and fire basic bullets with a virtual button in the lower right corner, and fire two special weapons with their corresponding icons. The battlefields are littered with asteroids, enemy fighters, and giant battle ships. Missions involve destroying certain objects on the field and collecting gems, all in under a set time limit. The hook is that other online players will be taking part in live matches, and they will all be fighting for the same points and gems.
Now, there’s a fundamental conflict at the heart of the game. It’s built not only for multiple people to take on a challenge at once, but also just one person. Now, that solo aspect is what kills a lot of the fun. Either due to a lack of players or a poor setup where finding players in a game at the same time is difficult, too often I found myself in missions where I was just playing by myself. The missions are too homogenous to be fun just by myself. They usually involve some variation of “blow up this object that appears in the other missions” and oddly, some of them don’t even work. It’s literally not possible to hurt anything when some missions boot, and there’s no reason given, the game treats it like it’s not a big deal.
The problem is that when the game does work properly, and does let me play with other people, it’s quite enjoyable! Those mindless high score competitions are more fun when I can shoot down real people and use that to beat them by just enough. It’s just more fun that way. But the game doesn’t really provide those opportunities.
It feels like ErnCon is still somewhat early on in its life, and has some bugs to work out still, with finding the right way to get people in and hooked, no matter how many people are playing. The fun moments are there, but they need to be there more often.