“Innovative controls and a great foundation, but repetitive. If new missions appear later, pretend we gave it another star.”£0.69
What is it about scientists in videogames? No sooner have you said “hey scientist guys, maybe don’t do horrible experiments on prisoners of war, thereby creating a viral outbreak that turns people into crazed, ravenous zombies” than a bunch of scientist guys do horrible experiments on prisoners of war, thereby creating a viral outbreak that turns people into crazed, ravenous zombies. Man, those scientists never learn.
Mind you, neither do the people sent in to clean up the mess. You’d think it might be wise to quash an undead uprising by, say, sending in a well-equipped army, rather than dumping a single bloke with a gun among the zombies. Naturally, then, your job as a private military contractor is to run around shooting zombies, collecting dropped intel and legging it back to the helicopter before it scarpers. And in this game, pilots don’t tolerate tardiness – if you’re a single second late, they’ll leave you to get your throat ripped out.
Extraction could so easily have been a run-of-the-mill twin-stick shooter, but the developers were instead inspired by classic game Cannon Fodder (cue a huge cheer from ex-Amiga owners). This mostly comes across in its elegant controls: tap the screen to make your dinky soldier move to that location and swipe across foes to shoot them in the order you’ve defined. The system not only suits touchscreen, it also adds an extra layer of strategy to the game, enabling you to choose targets before they’re in your line of sight. Extraction therefore sits somewhere between arcade shooters and stealth titles – with an added layer of zombie guts, obviously.
Where the game begins to falter is in not expanding enough on its tight, engaging central concept. You only get a handful of missions, most of which centre around killing hordes of zombies, rescuing scientists that would probably be better off left to their fate or escorting soldiers that appear to have all the stealth capabilities of an elephant smashing panes of glass with a hammer. The environments change little, too, and soon become monotonous, although levels are at least semi-randomly generated, providing a little extra variety when repeating missions. The game was also rather crashy on an iPad (but fine on an iPhone).
Still, this is a solid title, with plenty of potential. In short bursts it’s a lot of fun, and it can be genuinely tense when you’re out of ammo and fleeing through a decaying prison while zombies go after your blood.