Madfinger Games has already proven they can publish gorgeous games that will be successful. With the absolute beauty of their new launch’s visuals, however, they’ve outdone themselves. Shadowgun sets a whole new standard in iOS game graphics.
Enter John Slade, mercenary soldier. Paired with a droid named S.A.R.A. that functions a bit as mission control, he’s hunting his latest target. A company called Toltech has shelled out for his services in order to stop a brilliant scientist-gone-rogue, the nefarious Dr. Edgar Simon. He’s everything a mad scientist in a techy futuristic post-apocalyptic world should be. Simon’s been getting his hands dirty engineering super soldiers, and his ego’s gotten too big to listen to reason. It’s Slade’s mission to slow the mad doctor down the old fashioned way, with a barrage of ammo. Along the way, he’ll encounter a slew of cannon fodder and try to hang on to his own skin by taking cover appropriately.
Taking cover happens automatically once you’re close enough to anything that can serve the purpose; the other controls are customizable and nicely designed for touch screen play. Virtual buttons take care of shooting and reloading, while the right and left sides of the screen are used for aiming weapons and Slade’s movements, respectively.
Aside from it’s looks (and sound), Shadowgun does have some bugs that need to be worked out. It’s no surprise that such a gorgeous game is going to test the limits as far as what iOS devices can support, and it seems that Shadowgun finds them wanting, at least in its current form. It occasionally slows down or even crashes, which is naturally undesirable. It’s especially undesirable in a game with relatively few save points, but luckily for those who are hooked, Shadowgun isn’t overly challenging. It’s certainly not something you can just stroll through, but other concessions have been made to give the game its visual punch. Combat is pretty simple, and while the enemies vary nicely as you progress, there aren’t too many complex maneuvers required. Once you’ve got the basic take cover/leap out with guns blazing maneuvers down pat, you’re free to enjoy the scenery.
And what scenery it is. It seems like every other game that launches screams about matching console game 3D graphics, but this is the first game I’ve laid eyes on that really puts its money where its mouth is. These aren’t just high-definition 3D graphics, this is HD 3D as an art form. Shadowgun is a sharp, clear, elegant and detailed as any game I’ve played. I’d go so far as to say the lighting effects might be the best I’ve seen, period. While the game certainly runs on darker emotions, there’s no fooling around with poor lighting to hide aesthetic flaws. High contrast, dramatic lighting doesn’t blend and blur details, it accentuates them.
But while it’s easy on the eyes, the bugs are a major headache. Once this game has been patched for gameplay as fluid as it is aesthetically superior, the $4.99 retail price is going to seem like a giveaway.