Developer: Games Faction
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.0.2
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Storm the Train is a new endless action game published by Chillingo. It takes place on a train, the source of many a great action scene, because fast-moving vehicles with no escape except jumping to another train are just made of awesomeness. In fact, Storm the Train decides to up the ante by making them trains full of various undead, robots, and ninjas. This game is a million digitized fist bumps.

Players control their movement on the train, with the ability to run backwards some, which helps when the enemies get a bit too numerous. Thankfully, there’s a variety of weapons to use. A mayhem meter fills up on the left, giving a random powerup like a familiar that shoots everything in sight, a Circular Death Weapon that players can ride in, and even the ability to switch between the game’s three characters, which comes in handy when one runs out of health. Mayhem powerups can be bought with collected coins as well.

Coins can be collected to upgrade each of the three characters and their loadouts, and because each one can be switched between, they actually serve as more than just re-skins with different starting stats: there’s actually potential for some play style customization. It gives the game a depth that it could have easily skimped on, because an endless vampire, robot, and ninja killing game would have been enough for most.

There’s an interesting balance created by the coins. Because it is possible to spend coins in-game to buy powerups, actually collecting them can be a chellenge. But, the game hands out coins at a high rate to where buying at least one per game is a relatively-tenable proposition. This then leads to the alternate situation where high scores can be influenced by those who spend money: buy coins or the coin doubler, and maybe that powerup that extends the game is in reach. Such is the risk of free-to-play, though. At least an attempt was made to balance it out for free players; I’m surprised this didn’t launch at 99 cents.

Controls wise, on the iPad the buttons are too far apart by default to be comfortable; there is at least the ability to drag the buttons to custom locations. iPod touch 5th generation owners beware: at launch, the game starts with the screen so zoomed in that actually playing is impossible.

I think Storm the Train floats on by more on its concept than on its actual gameplay, which can feel a bit generic at times, and some enemies can be annoying. But, oh that concept! If 2012 is the year of over-the-top endless action games, it will have been a good year indeed. For those tired of punching everything and maybe feel like shooting everything, Storm the Train is free and operators are standing by.

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