Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad 1
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Madfinger Games, known for the visually stunning Samurai games, has released their latest visual stunner for iOS. Meet Shadowgun, and boy is it a looker. This third-person shooter, which is very much inspired by the Gears of War series, puts players in control of John Slade, a clandestine mercenary known as a "shadowgun" who works with an android named S.A.R.A who provides mission support. John Slade is hired by a company named Toltech to take down a rogue scientist named Dr. Edgar Simon, who dabbles in the genetic engineering of supersoldiers...and has a bit of a god complex to boot. The combat is cover-based, where players must use objects in the levels to protect themselves from enemies, popping out occasionally to take out their targets.
Shadowgun's calling card has been its impressive graphics, and boy does it deliver. When the game is stable, it runs at a fluid rate, with some of the most detailed graphics ever seen on mobile devices. The controls and gameplay have been tuned for the touchscreen, with the left side of the screen used for movement, the right side used for aiming, and virtual buttons for firing and reloading. The controls are completely customizable and can be rearranged, as well. While the gameplay sometimes suffers from the simplicity, like having no melee attack at all when up close, it feels like it was a necessary tradeoff in order to make this work well on mobile.
Likely due to Shadowgun's detailed graphics, the game demands a lot of RAM. and it isn't exactly equipped to handle these low-RAM situations, as it crashes way too often; I lost count after a couple dozen times. It seems as if any moment of slowdown is a prelude to the game's imminent crashing. In fact, the instability of the app was the biggest hindrance to my progress, rather than any kind of challenge from the game, at least not until very late in the game when the difficulty does start to increase. Shadowgun is very frugal with its checkpoints, and sometimes the challenge comes from having to complete multiple steps in a level before getting to a checkpoint, and praying that the game doesn't crash before then. The game in its entirety is very repetitive and basic; combat tends to consist of the same process of "get behind cover and shoot enemies when the reticle turns red" with little variation in the combat.
Shadowgun does not come cheap; at $7.99, this outclasses most games on the platform, and while it is thankfully a universal app for iPad owners, this is an investment compared to the rest of iOS games. Fans of shooters looking for a game with high production values and console-quality gameplay scaled down for mobile will love this. Just be aware that it does pale in comparison in terms of complexity to the big-name console titles that it is inspired by.