App Reviewed on: iPad Pro
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My main problem with multiplayer mobile games these days is how the vast majority of them are designed to be pay-to-win. I was fully expecting Shadowgun War Games to be the same way, even after playing the closed beta ahead of release where there was no egregious monetization to be found. I just assumed things like the freemium grind were left out, alongside a bunch more maps, characters, and game modes. To my surprise, Shadowgun War Games is basically the same game that the beta promised, which is a very modest multiplayer shooter that prioritizes fairness and only monetizes visual variety.
Touch team shooter
Shadowgun War Games is a 5v5 first-person shooter where players take control of unique hero characters to help their team blast away the competition and complete objectives. Before you balk at playing an FPS using a touch screen, let me just say that Shadowgun War Games has surprisingly good controls and tons of customization options. It also supports controller play.
Each character in Shadowgun War Games has their own distinct personality and weapons. In addition to simply pointing guns at baddies and holding down the trigger (actually, the game shoots for you, but whatever), characters also have special powers that they can use to turn the tide of battle at a moment’s notice, provided they are fully charged.
Given this description, it’s more than fair to say War Games bears quite a bit of resemblance to Overwatch. Just like Shadowgun Legends drew comparisons to Destiny, it seems Madfinger has no problem wearing their inspirations on their sleeve. This is all fine, except for the fact that Overwatch is a super polished game with tons of characters, maps, and game modes, and War Games is not.
The game looks, plays, and moves just fine, but there is not very much variety to Shadowgun War Games. As of this writing, the game has only five characters, two game modes, and two maps. This makes rounds of the game almost immediately feel repetitive, but sometimes that’s what you want from a multiplayer game: a limited set of tools that you can get familiar with over time as you hone your skills.
Free and fair
Regardless of how you feel about the amount of content in Shadowgun War Games, though, it’s truly one of the only multiplayer shooters on mobile that doesn’t allow players to upgrade or level up characters or equipment and throw off the game balance. This ensures that everyone is testing their skills against each other in matches, as opposed to the size of their wallets.
Instead of selling players on buying competitive advantages, Madfinger opts to aggressively monetize all manner of cosmetic unlocks: costumes for characters, stat trackers, emotes, you name it. If there’s a thing you want to make look different in this game, you can practically guarantee it has a price tag. If you’re not interested in spending money on Shadowgun War Games, you can still grind out currency to buy these items, but it will take a long time to afford anything substantial.
The bottom line
If you’re going to play a free-to-play multiplayer game, it might as well be a fair one. Shadowgun War Games is one of the few mobile titiles that match this criteria. It also happens to be reasonably fun and easy to control. War Games may lack a bit of content and originality, but that is ok by comparison. Those are things that seem likely to improve and evolve over time. Until then, the core that’s here is solid.