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Android App Video Review: Shadowgun

by Andrew Koziara

Madfinger Games, the creators of the excellent Samurai II: Vengeance, have set out to prove that you can make a shooter experience work well on a touch screen. The end result of their efforts is Shadowgun, a gorgeous third person shooter powered by the Unity engine. It's a very well made yet simple shooter which is pretty fun, but pretty basic and lacking staying power.

The game puts you in the space boots of John Slade, a gruff refrigerator sized gun-for-hire known as a Shadowgun. Together with S.A.R.A., who is basically an adjutant from Starcraft who acts like your basic Cortana by doling out mission info, you take a job to capture a mad scientist who is in the process of creating his own personal army of mutant cyborgs. It's sci-fi shooter plot 101, really. The story may be a retread of familiar ground, but it's told well and the solid voice performances carry you through.

To oversimplify, this is basically Gears of War. It's missing a lot of the depth and features of the Gears series, but in terms of general movement and feel, it's extremely similar. The game features a simplified cover mechanic which suits it well, and firefights can be very satisfying. Unfortunately, the enemy AI isn't all that bright, and the fights start to feel very repetitive. The game does mix things up with the occasional memorable boss or set-piece, though. You'll get your hands on four guns throughout the game, though you're starting rifle is easily the most versatile in terms of range, accuracy, and ammo count. There are frequent ammo refill crates strewn about each level, so feel free to abuse your rocket and grenade launcher. Each level also has secret hidden collectibles which unlock bits of this universes history and flesh out the world, which is always nice to see.

While shooter enthusiasts will likely breeze through the game, it's still worth a play through. This is my favorite mobile shooter yet for a variety of reasons. Using a device with an HD screen only showcases the graphics even better. By being on an Android, you have the option of using android compatible game pads, which is always excellent to see, though I imagine the game would be too easy with a game pad. The controls are customizable, and the game is comfortable to play on a tablet device. There is an unfortunate lack of Multiplayer at the moment, though it's being worked on by Madfinger as we speak, and should come out in an update in the not too far away future.

The graphics are some of the best in any mobile game. The world is actually colorful instead of drowning in brown and gray, and there are many stylistic elements. The heavy metal soundtrack is pretty generic, but it gets the job done. This game can be yours for just five dollars, which I'd say it's definitely worth. Any shooter fan should consider giving it a download.

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