Sierra 7 review
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Sierra 7 review

Our Review by Campbell Bird on September 12th, 2019
Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: TACTLESS TACTICS
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Sierra 7 is an interesting on-rails shooter that is marred by annoying free-to-play design.

Developer: SHD Games Inc.

Price: Free
Version: v0.0.299
App Reviewed on: iPad Pro

Graphics/Sound Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: halfstarblankstarblankstarblankstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar

It’s really easy to mess up an on-rails shooter. Without giving players freedom of movement, you have to work twice as hard to make your game compelling. Sierra 7 gets awfully close to clearing this high bar, but it’s brand of modern military on-rails shooting is undone by a lot of poor free-to-play design.

Rail gunning

In Sierra 7, you are some kind of para-military killing machine. You go to locations full of masked baddies and kill them all before moving onto your next mission. This game has a story that’s a little more nuanced than that, but it mostly serves as a backdrop to a stylish shooter where you spend a lot of your time aiming and shooting while the game takes care of the rest.

Most levels just automatically move you between scenes in which you wait for bad guys to come out and tap and shoot to kill them before they kill you. If you’re ever overwhelmed by enemies or need to take a breather, Sierra 7 features a cover button that lets you hide behind something before popping up to shoot more bad guys again.

Stealthy shooting

Although it sounds like a pretty generic shooter, Sierra 7 stands out because of its unique presentation. The game’s narrative and mechanics carry themselves with the seriousness of Tom Clancy titles, but all of its action is presented in a stylish, cel-shaded, monochromatic aesthetic. It also helps that the guns in this game look and feel great when firing them.

Sierra 7 also goes out of its way to vary up its gameplay in interesting ways. Most notably, the game features “stealth” sequences where you’re sniping targets from far away. These moments ask you to pick off enemies in a specific order to avoid alerting suspicion. This is a neat idea that definitely feels like a change of pace, but it's only occasionally satisfying. More often than not, these sequences boil down to frustrating trial-and-error as you try to guess what the game wants you to shoot and in what order.

Weapons free(-to-play)

The combination of good gun-feel and cool style was enough to keep me interested in Sierra 7 for a while, but that was before the game’s free-to-play structure reared its ugly head. Sierra 7 is littered with so many annoying monetizing schemes that do just about everything they can to destroy your enjoyment of the game.

Sierra 7 has ads, premium currencies, consumable items, and rentable gear, all of which exist purely to make money off of you. It also doesn’t help that the game has a gating system for its levels that forces you to replay old stages on harder difficulties in order to unlock new levels to progress the story. Of course, these harder stages are easier if you have upgraded gear, andSierra 7 has no problem of offering rewards for watching ads or letting you spend money to get this gear faster. All of this is annoying and bad and makes Sierra 7 a significantly worse experience than it might otherwise be.

The bottom line

Sierra 7 does a lot to stand out as an on-rails shooter, but it also shoots itself in the foot for the sake of monetization. I get it. It’s hard to make a living off of mobile games these days, but that doesn’t mean Sierra 7 should so brazenly monetize players at every turn.

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