Thursday, 5 March 2015

Sniper Assassin: Shoot to Kill - iPhone

Starts off well, goes down hill quickly.

Through casually looking at and checking over the apps within the store, I happened upon this little game, which I thought I'd give a try. Thinking it'd be something along the lines of Sniper Scope on the arcades or one of those pseudo-Duck Hunt games harkening back to the days of the NES, or perhaps a reimagining of an original game along the lines of Operation Wow (a.k.a, let's cartoonise Operation Wolf). Instead I got something a little more impressive and a little cynical on the whole social commentary.

The BEST rifle, for more cash than a AAA game title these days...

The plot, you're a sniper and you're given contracts from city to city that you need to fulfil. These contracts tend to be specific to an area and more often than not, will require you to take aim into the city and shoot someone. Sometimes the mission will require you to shoot down several targets, or blow up a helicopter and such.

The detail and levelling aspect brings something novel to the game, boredom.

The layout of each mission takes place within a 3D modelled city and your location can be from alleyways to rooftops and usually a long way away from the action. Using your phone, you turn and tilt the phone until you're aiming at what you want, using the slider on the left you can use the zoom function but this takes you off aim for a moment while you do it (unless very careful) and tapping the screen anywhere will take the shot. A final shot/successful shot will be mapped out in a rather impressive bullet time akin almost to the Sniper Elite games, minus the skeleton structure showing. Head shots score more points than other shots and taking too long on a mission will inevitably fail it (or missing if it's a hostage mission).

Ingame cash, for outgame cash, to upgrade a gun to shoot things. This is apparently "fun".

However, each mission requires Energy, Energy that refills over time, or can be purchased. Here's where the nasty little monster of Pay to Keep Playing comes in. On top of this, to really push the money front out, each mission has prerequisites in the form of Accuracy, Zoom, Power and Stability which can all be upgraded for your particular weapon. You can use the money you earn from missions to upgrade the weapons or take one-off missions to add further supplement of funds, but these cost Energy. Or buy more coins.

You too can BUY this GUN! For more money than a real gun costs...

Yep, now we're getting bogged down in the gameplay. Later missions and special missions will require the use of more energy and some of the missions will be increasingly awkward to complete. Such as suicide bombers that MUST be taken out with a head shot. Phone bombers that won't be identified until they pull out a mobile phone. Other maps will set you up to fail and not until you fail the mission that the "helpful" guide will tell you what trap you just fell into.

So many missions, but you'll run out of energy way before you do anything.

The game is fully geared up for the long haul of burning your cash away. New weapons cost a fortune by comparison and later upgrades take additional time to be "delivered" while the option to spend a specific in-game currency is dropped in too! The gameplay is interesting to the point that some missions require some observation, thinking, planning, taking into account bullet drop over distance and then again, there's the money issue that royally takes lets the game shove you over a barrel so it can be ram overpriced costs up your arse sideways while laughing at your feeble attempts to pay up. 

Whoo, it's like The Matrix all over again.

Or, just don't pay and play every day or so. Sadly, this game effectively forces casual play as a difficulty spike, a nice idea but very poorly executed for the sake of pay-to-play functions.