Welcome to Tap that App, I'm Jason Parker and this is the show where we cover the hottest apps in the
At this year's E3 gaming industry conference, a certain mobile game quickly got a lot of attention for
having console-like graphics, high frame rates, and great-looking gameplay on a mobile device. It was so
good looking, in fact, that many people didn't believe it was a real game for iOS.
This week we're excited to show off Shadowgun, made using the Unity 3D engine, and offering a level of
graphics not seen before on iOS devices. In our hands-on time with the game, we've been very impressed
with the solid controls, crystal clear visuals, and the mix of tactical combat and third-person action.
The storyline is fairly run of the mill: You play as John Slade, a typical tough-talking bounty hunter. Your
job is to infiltrate a mountain fortress in search of one Doctor Simon, an evil geneticist who has created an
army of cyborgs, mutants, and genetically enhanced humanoids. While fantastical in real-world terms, most
gamers have had their share of chasing crazy scientists bent on world domination--Shadowgun is no
different in this aspect.
But where Shadowgun differs from the usual fare are the jaw-dropping visuals and easy-to-use controls on
the iOS. As you learn the basic controls in the first level, you can't help but notice the visuals. Shadows and
ambient lighting give the game unprecedented realism on iOS and a constant stream of action keeps you
engaged as you make your way deep into the mountain fortress.
The control system couldn't be easier: You move John Slade with a joypad on the left, and look around by
swiping the screen on the right. You get buttons for firing and reloading your weapon on the lower right,
and you can switch weapons (once you find them) by touching the gun icon in the upper right.
But where the control system really shines is in how Shadowgun handles cover. To get out of harms way,
you need only walk up to an object and your character will hunker down automatically. Hit the fire button
to quickly come out of cover and take shots at enemies. Pulling back makes you return to a standing
position, and pushing forward makes you jump over the object. Other games of this type often have you
press a button to go into cover mode, but we really like the simple way Shadowgun handles this tactic.
As you progress through the game, you'll need to operate elevators, turn off laser security systems, and
operate other mechanisms. Shadowgun keeps it simple by switching your shooting button to an interact
button the second you walk up to a machine. We really like these design decisions that make it easy to keep
the game fun without a bunch of unneccesary complexity.
With all the great things Shadowgun does, like the graphics, the easy-to-use controls, and an engaging--if
somewhat predictable--storyline, it does suffer from being a bit repetitive. Each battle follows a similar
pattern: bad guys come out, you go into cover, then you work through killing each enemy one-by-one.
Enemy and weapon variation somewhat make up for this, but you'll still follow this basic pattern
throughout the game.
Still, ShadowGun is a must have for serious shooter fans offering amazing graphics, great level design, and
endless gun battles--all with a heavy metal soundtrack. If you like any of these things, we heartily
recommend you tap this app immediately.
That's it for this weeks show, if you have any suggestions, send them to Tap That App at cnet.com. I'm
Jason Parker and we'll see you next time.