Developer: Engineous Games Inc.
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

IMG_0084Sketch Nation Shooter is a really great concept for a game. Heavily based in user generated content, Sketch Nation Shooter allows the user to become the level developer, providing a simplistic set of tools for content generation that can easily be uploaded to Facebook to share with the masses. Overall, it’s a great idea that more games should try and incorporate.

I really appreciated the user generated content that is allowable in this game. Sketch Nation Shooter provides a game engine that scrolls a screen, and allows the user to fill in the graphics of the environment, the main object or character, and the enemies within the level. This concept is really great, and the imagination of the user is the limit.

In order to effectively show off the true power of the games engine, Sketch Nation Shooter comes with 5 demo games to try out, each providing one full level of content. These range from top down air/space shooters similar to a Xevious, a car dodging game, and an aquatic side scrolling game. None of these games provide a lot of game play, but they do a lot to show off the unique variations that users can create with a little creativity and ingenuity.

It’s quite obvious that this game is going to be based heavily in user generated content. If it develops a strong player base, there is no end to how much Sketch Nation Shooter can accomplish. I have my concerns about how strong the content development following will be, but history shows that users are an extremely powerful group of content developers, and some of the most well known gaming experiences have found their birth in user generated content. Sketch Nation Shooter is experiencing a lot of popularity on top selling charts as of now, so my concerns may end up being heavily unfounded.

Designing a game can be extremely easy, or it can involve added layers of depth. There are two development modes, simple and advanced. In simple mode, the game walks through the development process, explaining the best way to design pictures for uploading, what to try and include, and what to stay away from. There are stock images available to use, or users can upload images from their photo file on the iDevice. After each upload, including the main character/object and the enemies, the user can test the game. At the end the game can be saved and uploaded to share with others.

The advanced mode goes into more depth, including level design, comic strip introduction (as can be seen in the demo games included), and a few other options. I tried out the simple development steps, using stock images, and then with a random picture on my iPod Touch. The stock images worked perfectly, and the game engine uploaded them into my created game seamlessly. The random picture I used didn’t work so well, and it’s clear that the directions for picture uploading need to be followed carefully.

The danger of a game like Sketch Nation Shooter is that it relies completely on user generated content. The added concerns of only being able to upload games to Facebook provide security issues, but the developer is currently working on a solution to that issue. There is a TON of possibility with a game like this, and I see it having a lot of potential. There is already a lot out there, and with some improvements, this genre of game can become a staple on the iDevice line up.

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