Developer: Eiconic Games
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Total Recoil is a dual-stick shooter that’s clearly taken some inspiration from recent Call of Duty instalments. No, I’m not talking about the graphical style, but its focus on completing challenges in order to unlock coins to use for new weapons, upgrades and killstreaks. It’s an immensely familiar mechanic, but one that works well.

Players start out as a lowly army Private, working their way through the ranks. Each level involves wave upon wave of enemies, and it’s down to the player to take them all out efficiently, in order to gain more coins and praise. Initiate a Killstreak and special attacks unlock, such as a plane strike or sentry gun. In each case, touch-based gestures control them, such as a sweeping gesture to highlight where the plane strike should occur. It’s a nice touch and alternates well with the more traditional dual-stick controls.

These virtual sticks work reasonably well, adapting to the placement of the player’s thumbs, although I did find that firing was quite inaccurate and involved a certain amount of “Spray and Pray.”

At the end of each level is a boss battle. These don’t offer a significant amount of strategy, but they are fun to partake in and require a little more ducking and diving than defeating regular drones. Indeed, the difficulty level does ramp up a fair bit, making it harder to increase rank, thereby unlocking new bits and pieces. This is where the prospect of spending money on in-game coins is tempting, given it saves on grinding quite as much. A slightly cynical move for a game that already costs $1.99.

Still, it’s possible to keep grinding and progress, but there is a certain amount of repetition here. The early moments of Total Recoil are the most entertaining with it tough to reach such heights the longer one plays it. There’s fun to be had, but eventually, those challenges will begin to grate.

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