Developer: Ripstone
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

GunCommando-7There’s nothing more annoying than when a game comes out on a platform that I don’t have. This is a rare occurrence nowadays, sure, but when I first heard about Gun Commando, a retro-style FPS in the vein of Wolfenstein 3D, I got excited. Then I found out that it was only on Playstation Vita, and lo, did I despair. Would I ever play this interesting game? Then, a miracle! An iOS release was announced! No longer would I have to entertain the possibility of buying another handheld system!

However, now I kinda want to get a Vita because this game clearly needs actual controls.

That the game consciously throws out everything learned from FPS titles in the last two decades is refreshing! Comparing the kind of flat-plane games that defined the early era of the FPS to modern games just feels so different, so playing something new based off of that style is pretty cool. Perhaps that explains the retro appeal as a whole?

GunCommando-2The game takes an arcade-style tack to its structure: players try to earn high scores through boss fights and just general not-dying. Ammo is unlimited, but it’s best not to waste it thanks to the upgrade system. Hitting enemies increases the upgrade bar, which can make it more powerful. So, the game encourages smart shooting without making the player worry about ammo. It’s a great balance.

Gun Commando unfortunately is very frustrating, thanks in large part to the controls. First off, while there’s no vertical looking, it’s still a challenge to line everything up properly. As well, with all the bullets coming in at the player, the slide mechanic becomes a necessary thing to master in order to stay alive. It’s difficult to trigger by just tapping on the left side of the screen when necessary; as an actual physical button I imagine it would be a lot easier.

The enemies, levels, and even the hero of the game are all generic. While the game is definitely referencing the tropes of a certain era, it lacks that necessary element of memorability. The enemies look like the kind of action figures one would buy at a drug store as a last minute gift for a kid’s birthday party.

Gun Commando is interesting, but I do fear that it’s going to make me go out and buy a Playstation Vita to experience it properly. For those intrigued by the concept, it’s only $0.99, but don’t expect it to be perfect.

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