Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 3GS
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When the streets are filled with zombies, fumbling with awkward controls will often make a player easy prey for the shambling masses. There have been lots of zombie and shooting games with great gameplay, and there have been some with clever control schemes. There are even some with oversimplified controls to make them more accessible on the iOS platform. There are, however, a few games here and there that take the best of the shooter genre and combine it with elegantly simple touch controls.
Extraction: Project Outbreak is one of these rare titles. Most shooters are a complex mesh of various mechanics. This often means that the game's controls must be of an equal complexity in order to allow the player to negotiate the complex mechanics. Unfortunately, iOS devices aren't particularly well suited to very complex control schemes. What Extraction has done is to find a way to boil down the normally complex shooter controls down to simple commands that can be issued seamlessly with one finger.
This works by assigning different tasks to different kinds of finger actions. Tapping on the screen will make the player's character move to that position on the screen. The AI pathfinding works really well, so players can tap away at their heart's content and their character will find the best route without much trouble at all. Swiping the screen selects targets. As zombies make their way to attack, players swipe over them and select them as targets. Multiple targets can be selected and they are attacked in the order that they are selected. What really makes this game play well is being able to begin issuing a new command while the previous command is still playing out. For example, the player can select a destination and the character will begin moving in that direction. While the character is moving, the player can then select targets that the character will attack on it's way to the selected destination, and vice versa. Other options such as weapon switching and deploying special weapons are controlled by in-evasive onscreen buttons.
The game is comprised of different missions in which players are required to complete different tasks such as killing a certain number on zombies, escorting rescued scientists to safety, or protecting engineers as they repair essential systems. The variation in missions means that players can employ different tactics and the game doesn't get stale after a few missions. The graphics are some of the best on the iOS platform and the environments are lush and detailed. Add to this the ability to upgrade weapons and unlock powerful allies like automated sentry guns and missile choppers and this game is downright habit forming. It's hard to find any complaints about this game, and the only one may be that there isn't more of it to play.