Oct 26 AT 4:16 PM Taylor Wimberly 16 Comments

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.

The trailer

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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.

Shadowgun7 / 10

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.


Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://www.typhonrt.org/ Mike Leahy

    A very good / fair & balanced review. Thanks Taylor… I know you were really waiting / excited for this one too.

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      I grew up a gamer, but gave it up in my college years. Now my tablet has made me start playing games again. I still really enjoy trying out different games, but not so much always writing about them hah.

      There is so much stuff that gets sent my way that I become really hard to impress. I still enjoyed this game, but I wish the experience lasted longer than 5 hours. Basically, I can’t wait to see the improvements they make in the sequel. The Unity3 engine is amazing.

      • http://www.typhonrt.org/ Mike Leahy

        Indeed. I too was much more of a gamer in my youth. It’s kind of ironic that I work on real time app / game dev related tech all day long, but that doesn’t leave much time to actually play games, but like you mentioned it’s a bit easier w/ tablet and shorter form games. If I’m going to involve myself in an “FPS” I’ll choose paintballing getting outside a little any day over any digital game. I’ve got some video footage online (starts to get interesting around 5:00, but good up and personal section around 6:45):


        Can’t do that on a tablet.. ;)

        As things do my Android dev efforts have kept me away from ‘balling last 2.5 years. It’s been intense in that regard; def miss it. I do hope to get back out there sometime soon especially now that I have a GoPro camera / much higher quality. A little bummed I bought the original and not the latest newest version.

        >Basically, I can’t wait to see the improvements they make in the sequel. The Unity3 engine is amazing.

        Indeed hopefully they got the kinks worked out and are comfortable with the tools and get in some more compelling game play and less “pull lever / go here” aspects. I’ll likely check it out soon. And yeah Unity3 is killing it for sure. I’d be so sunk in the water if my efforts were only game dev focused.

  • Nathan

    I hate when a game is hype up but then it kinda sucks but I would still get it just because it one of the better game on the market

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      I wouldn’t say the game sucks. I’d most likely play it again when the Tegra 3 version comes out. I’d also like to see their take on multiplayer if that comes to Android.

      • Nathan

        Well I don’t mean suck suck but that it hype is better then what it actually is, is what I’m trying to say.

  • Genjinaro

    Tegra this, tegra that. Anyone try this on Adreno ?

  • http://klout.com/#/SliestDragon SliestDragon

    Man, I can’t wait till I get the Transformer 2, this “not having a tegra device” thing is killing me! Really great looking game. Glad stuff like this is making it’s way to android. :)

  • Alex

    Finally, I’ve been waiting to play this on my Motorola Photon 4G. Just one thing, I had read this game will support the Phonejoy controller, any chance that this is true?

  • Aaron

    That looks like Bruce Willis. Is this a new installment of Die Hard?

  • Mark

    Would be nice to have games that aren’t based on what brand of processor you have…

  • http://www.ericfarley.net Eric Farley

    Why bother reviewing a game most android owners can’t play since they don’t own a crappy tegra 2 device and decided to get something else with better specs and performance that isn’t already outdated like the GS2 just to find out all of the game developers have sold out to nVidia and are screwing the consumers.

  • andrpau

    Does anyone else think the main character looks a bit like a bald Johnny Knoxville?

  • BigCiX

    Ill be passing this up for modern combat 3

  • https://market.android.com/details?id=com.ggee.vividruntime.gg_919 Angie7F

    Nice review. Very fair and informative. Looking forward to more articles on android games…!

  • pritams

    didn’t like it…