Thrilling, console quality graphics. A well known, overdone, yet compelling, story line. Action-packed gameplay. Madfinger Games has been well praised in the iOS gaming industry thus far. They may not be a big giant like Gameloft and EA, but they do have their fair share of games that are well known and loved. Even I myself have fallen in love with games like Samurai, Bloody Xmas, and Samurai II: Vengeance (which I reviewed myself). Madfinger takes it to the next level stepping out of the cartoonish graphics and brings outs the big guns, literally, with their newest game, Shadowgun. Shadow gun has compelling gameplay, luxurious graphics, quality audio, average replay, and a good overall value. Read on for the full review:
The storyline behind Shadowgun is one that is all too familiar. You play as John Slade who is on the mission to find and retrieve the nasty, diabolical Dr. Edgar Simon… Dead or alive. We’ve seen this storyline way too many times as many games use this story line, one example being another game with shadow in its title, Gameloft’s Shadow Guardian.
The gameplay itself is actually quite intense and enjoyable all together. You basically dig yourself deep into Dr. Simon’s lair in search for him. As you move through, you have to disable and destroy jamming devices the evil doctor uses to hide his position from you. As you get deeper into his lair, his mutant army of mutated humans, exploding, mechanical spiders, and large gun wielding, missile shooting machines try to take you down. As you go through the game, they enemies become larger in number and begin working together to take you down. The AI actually has decent intelligence in this game and will know what you’re up to and where you are. They take cover and fire back.
Just like they can take cover, Madfinger gives you a cover system of your own. This cover system is intuitively placed into the game in the most hidden fashion. It involves no buttons; making it as simple as it gets. To take cover, walk up to a barrier or wall and John will do the rest. You can move forward to jump over some barriers or just step back to retreat from cover. The cover system in this game is one of the best I’ve ever seen.
The controls in the game are actually really simple. The controls for the cover system have been described above. Although not as simple as the cover system, Shadowgun’s controls are still clear, and somewhat obvious. Madfinger really takes from the other shooters with their control system. There are two primary buttons, a shoot button and a reload button on the left side of the screen. You can tap your weapon to change weapons. The plus button pauses the game. To look around, you simply drag your finger around on the right side of the screen. To move Mr. Slade, you drag your finger on the left side. There are no motion controls, which really isn’t necessary. Sure, they are nice to show off, but in all practicality, I never really used them.
Overall, the gameplay is extremely fun and fast paced. The AI are intelligent enough to become somewhat of a challenge and Madfinger does add some challenging parts into the game. There are boss fights as well, which come right when the game starts becoming repetitive. The bosses take a little longer to beat as you first also have to figure out where their Achilles heel is.
One more thing I’d like to note is that the game does have the tendency to crash a lot. This can become extremely frustrating and annoying. I haven’t been able to go through one instance where I received an email and the game didn’t crash. Other times, the game would start up, I’d start playing for five minutes and it’d crash. This can become a huge annoyance, but the game is still fun to play regardless and doesn’t entirely kill the gameplay as it will affect other sections.
Like the gameplay, the graphics are also phenomenal. In this day and age, everything it’s Unreal Engine this, Unreal Engine 3.0 that. Then Unity’s engine, which has the ability to create really compelling graphics is left behind. Unity really never became big, and doesn’t get the respect it deserved. Well, today it does, through the hands of Madfinger Games.
The graphics in Shadowgun are nothing less of jaw dropping. The advanced, real-time lighting, deeply detailed textures, and picture as a whole really just come together to create a beautiful picture out of just about every screenshot. Words really can’t explain just how thorough and gorgeous the graphics are in this game. In an essence, it starts walking the line of the console gaming, where it becomes so overwhelming, it feels unreal. The animations are really fluid and smooth as a baby’s bottom. The frame rates run high. Everything really just looks splendid.
The menus are another area we look at. The menus are simple to the touch and really quickly navigated. The buttons are clear-cut as it’s obvious what each one does. They are large and can’t really be missed. I couldn’t be more pleased with the menus.
Madfinger, like Firemint, comes and says that you don’t need an Unreal Engine to get quality, high-resolution graphics. You can use something real, like Unity, to get the same outcome, and in some cases, a better outcome.
With great gameplay, great graphics, Shadowgun comes to the table with some great audio. This completes the three necessary components to create a great game. When you have all three of these aspects together, the game really just comes to live. This game is no different.
As you start the game, you are greated with some hard-core metal music. I myself enjoy it as its fast paced, and action packed. It gives the idea that the game is going to be adrenaline pumping. This theme stays throughout the game. During the battle scenes, the music gets really fast and energetic giving you a quick adrenaline rush. The metal music really fits this game nicely, I have no problems with it.
The sound effects in this game are plenty in number. Put on your headphones and you’ll hear every single sound you can imagine, even ones that you wouldn’t in real life. The SFX really give a mysterious feeling to the game as any step you take can lead you into battle. The gun fire, footsteps, explosions, doors, and everything else imaginable has a sound.
Madfinger Games really did a splendid job with the audio in this game, allowing them to really create the audio-visuals that suck you into the game, as if you were right behind Jack Slade while he went after the doc.
Amazing gameplay, amazing graphics, amazing audio. Madfinger is on its high horse, and unfortunately, this is where they begin their long, hard fall. The replay value is about average in this game, but it can definitely use a lot more. For starters, you do have your achievements. They’re there you are one that likes to complete them. The other thing that adds to replay are the hidden items. These items are scattered through the game and in each individual level. There are a total of 16 hidden items and each one unlocks something different. Most of them just end up being information about the individual characters. In my opinion there really isn’t a reason to get them as the reward isn’t large enough.
The only other thing that allows replay is that this game does feature 3 difficulty levels. This can create more replay out of the game. What this game really needs is multiplayer. According to this CNet article, Madfinger is adding replay.
The final thing that really irritates me are the constant crashes the game goes through. Unless you restart your device, the game will crash when you try to actually play. This becomes a huge inconvenience when you have 10-15 minutes to blow and really turns me away from playing this game.
Well, that’s really it in terms of replay. Once online multiplayer is added, replay will be increased by at least one star though. The crashes and memory leaks are a huge turn off from this game as it causes me not to want to play Shadowgun. This game can still use a single player death match or something where you fight AI.
OK, now to price this game… Shadowgun will set you back 8 dollars. For this price you can get a nice lunch from Chipotle or a restaurant of your choice. I can get a bowl of pho (who’s Viet here?), maybe two. However, if you look at it, it’s only one more dollar than a Gameloft or EA game. So for its price, it isn’t the worst game. The graphics, gameplay, and audio are all spectacular and really what this game’s all about. The actual story is also very long and will last you 5 to 6 hours of total gameplay if you take your time and figure everything out.
The constant crashing comes back from the Reuse section to haunt the value section here. It quickly lowers the game’s value as it is an annoyance more than anything. I love this game dearly, if it wasn’t for the crashes. For 8 dollars, I was expecting a lot more stability in the game with testing. Still, it’s a decent value as long as you restart your device before you begin playing. This will stop crashing issues.
The game does lack replay. However, the upcoming online multiplayer modes should soon fix that. Overall, even without the online mode, this game would still get a 4. Constant crashes, however, lower the score once more by half a star. There are much worse games that you could buy for this price, like EA’s Madden.
With an amazing jump into the 3D shooting world, Madfinger actually pushes out a high-quality game that will for sure satisfy the end user; if only it wasn’t for the constant crashing. The gameplay, graphics, and audio all work together in perfect unity to deliver an engaging gameplay that will bring players back. The soon-to-come multiplayer modes should really fix most of the replay value problems. Madfinger Games really brought a huge punch to make Shadowgun one of the best, if not the best, third person shooter on the App Store… If only it wasn’t for one thing.