Developer: Zynga
Price: FREE
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 3

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

When it’s time to wage virtual warfare, proper foot soldiers are essential. They don’t need to be highly skilled. They don’t need the latest in military technology. It doesn’t matter if they’re battle-hardened or if they have an affinity for firearms. All that matters is that they’re respawnable.

It impressive that title as simple as Respawnables can paint such a vivid picture of a game’s nature. Anyone who’s even vaguely familiar with third or first-person shooters is familiar with the concept of respawning: a player’s character gets “killed,” and they come back a few seconds later to continue the fight. This isn’t just what Respawnables is about, it’s what it is. A player’s character spawns in a map, they do their best to shoot up everything that moves to score more points than everyone else, then a winner is declared after a set time limit. Simply playing earns experience towards gaining levels, and each new level unlocks a few things such as new skill upgrades (more health, etc) or costume items with various effects (i.e. boosted accuracy).

Along with the colorful visual style reminiscent of a particular hat-centric Valve shooter, and the wealth of unlockable outfits and weapons that function as the main carrot on a stick here, there are also both single and multiplayer modes available. Single player involves repeated matches against AI bots for cash and experience as well as completing a number of various missions such as playing for a full minute without dying or killing X number of enemies with a specific weapon for a bonus payout. Multiplayer is pretty much the same thing, only against other players sporting a wide variety of equipment and skill levels. It’s also available in team deathmatch variety to mix things up a bit.

Unfortunately both modes have problems. Single player is almost ridiculously easy for the first several levels and even once special enemies are thrown into the mix the AI is still fairly content to stand in one place and get shot in the dome – or possibly camp out next to an explosive barrel – from time to time. Conversely, multiplayer tends to incorporate players of a vast range of levels that tend to wreck the overall balance. It’s certainly still possible to score well as a level 5 against a bunch of 10 and ups, but winning is almost impossible when everyone else is sporting a bunch of health and damage upgrades or vehicle-sized machineguns. Thankfully a horrible loss in multiplayer seems to earn more experience than a clean sweep in single player, but it can still be frustrating to face off against so many twinks.

Win or lose, Respawnables is still an incredibly fun and addicting shooter. It’s a bit unbalanced no matter which mode players decide to mess around with but none of that hampers that all-important character progression.

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