After six months of waiting, does Shadowgun live up to the hype? We have been eagerly anticipating this game ever since it was announced for Android and today it is finally live in the Android Market for $4.99. Check out our mini-review of the game and find out if it’s worth your money.
SHADOWGUN puts players into the role of John Slade, a professional bounty hunter in the year 2350. Slade’s mission: hunt down Dr. Edgar Simon, renowned geneticist and former employee of the trans-galactic corporation Toltech Enterprises. Players must lead “shadowgun” John Slade as he infiltrates Dr. Simon’s mountain fortress and fights his personal army of mutants, cyborgs, and genetically-enhanced humanoids. Using state-of-the-art weaponry, ships, and the assistance of S.A.R.A.—Slade’s personal android assistant. The story is written by award winning author Micah Nathan who has joined the MadFinger team as executive creative consultant for SHADOWGUN.
Shadowgun is easily one of the best looking Android games we have played to date. Thanks to the dual-core Tegra 2 processor, Shadowgun delivers console-quality graphics to the mobile screen. Players will find advanced lighting effects, detailed textures, and beautifully rendered environments. You can expect the graphics will get even better because an optimized version of Shadowgun will be coming later for NVIDIA’s quad-core Tegra 3 platform.
I’ve played a lot of first-person shooters on Android and I found Shadowgun was one of the easier ones to pick up and control. Like most other titles, left thumb controls movement and right thumb is for looking around and shooting. Madfinger uses a free moving pad for left thumb, so you don’t have to worry about touching the exact same area of your screen during a heated battle. Reload controls are placed conveniently next to the fire button and weapon switching is in the upper right corner. Setup allows the user to change control scheme, aim sensitivity, invert vertical look, and switch to left hand aim.
As you might have noticed from previous videos, Shadowgun is a third-person cover-based shooter (think Gears of War). I played through the game on normal mode and found out it started off pretty easy and gradually increased the difficulty mode. Most levels follow pretty much the same pattern. Duck-and-cover while you kill some bad guys, pull a lever that opens a door, and walk to the end of the level. I might be oversimplifying it, but the gameplay is pretty basic and repetitive. There are a couple boss battles throw in to spice up the action, but most of them can be defeated quite easy and were a disappointment.
A few levels have some wide open spaces, but this is largely a corridor-based shooter. I never felt lost in any level and I always knew exactly where to go. It would have been nice to explore some larger environments, but the story is pretty linear so I guess they wanted to keep you on track.
There are four weapons in the game including a machine gun, shotgun, grenade launcher, and rocket launcher. You only start out with the machine gun, but you can unlock the others as you play through the levels. Each weapon has a limited number of ammo, but there are ammo crates all over the place so it’s not like you need to worry about running out.
The developer claims that Shadowgun is one of the “most advanced combat Artificial Intelligence games to date”, but I would disagree. Enemies always seek cover and then follow a pretty predictable pattern of popping up so that it’s easy to time your shots and kill them. There are different enemy types that have their own strengths and weaknesses, but they are limited to around five types and it’s pretty easy to learn their patterns.
Shadowgun contains 10 levels and the developer claims that’s around 6 hours of total gameplay. I quickly finished the entire game in two days (felt more like 3-4 hours) and now there is not much reason to replay it. Hidden throughout the levels are 16 bonus pickups that unlock these cards with more info on the characters and weapons, but there is no real incentive to go collect them all.
Madfinger Games has a coming soon page on their site that says a multiplayer mode is in the works, but we have no idea when it will arrive or which platforms will receive it.
Shadowgun excels at visuals, but that’s about the only area it wowed me. If you want a new game to show off the awesome graphics of your Tegra 2 device, then go ahead and buy the game. However, if you are looking for a deep gameplay experience that will keep you coming back to over and over, then you might want to pass on Shadowgun and wait and see what additions the developer rolls out.