“While it wins no points for originality, Shadowgun does have a satisfying bite, and there’s plenty of game here for the money.”£2.99
Run, hide, kill some bad guys, run, hide, use a lift, run, hide, unlock a door, run hide, kill some bad guys, get to the big boss, destroy him and level up. Sound familiar? Well, it’s the basic gameplay pattern of pretty much every modern third person shooter, and Shadowgun doesn’t so much as break the mold as decide the mold is perfectly fine the way it is.
It’s impossible to play Shadowgun without thinking how similar it looks to the Xbox 360 favourite Gears of War, even down to you controlling a beefy little space marine chap with a machine gun. While the gameplay on iOS feels slightly timid in comparison to the visceral chainsaw adrenaline rush the Xbox game can kick out, it does contain many of the same trademarks that make Gears work – mainly using bits of the environment for cover and letting loose volley after volley of machine gun fire from your position of safety, then rushing to the next one. This format actually plays out really well on a touchscreen device, and being able to stylishly leap over a barricade and make a run for it after you’ve smoked a wave of bad guys does feel mighty satisfying. While all this is going on, you have to keep an eye on your remaining ammo, because having to reload while your shotgun is pointing in the face of an aggressive mutant is not only highly embarrassing, but also frequently fatal.
You can play Shadowgun on your iPhone as well as your iPad, and it doesn’t fare too badly here either because it uses the whole left and right sides of the screen to control running and aiming, unlike N.O.V.A. with its tiny joystick.
As each level progresses, the bad guys get tougher, and you discover more weapons to add to your arsenal. The aliens’ AI leaves a lot to be desired, and changing difficulty level doesn’t seem to make that much difference to the predictable patterns of your opponents, but there’s definitely a major degree of satisfaction to be had by mowing them down, even if the whole things does start to feel very repetitive as you get deeper into the alien facility.