Shoot to Kill

Shoot to Kill

What we liked:

+ Controls are a perfect fit
+ An incredible amount of depth and intensity

What we didn't like:

- Aesthetic feels relatively dated

DEVELOPER: Tower Studios   |   PUBLISHER: Tower Studios   |   RELEASE: 10/30/2010

It’s like the Game from Hell from Heaven! Wait, what?

Hey guys, this is a game where you stand in a protective pentagram and descend into Hell killing demons!

If you just rolled your eyes, I don’t blame you. On its face, Shoot to Kill seems like a game that should have been made for the Sega Genesis in the 90s, not the iPhone in 2010. And yet, here it is. Even more shocking: this game won me over.

Typically, iPhone games with a focus on shooting monsters can only reach certain heights before hands cramp and we realized that fast-paced shooters just weren’t meant for a small, touch-screen device. Developers insist on publishing them because they sell, but I don’t think anyone is tempted to play these things when they’re at home, sitting next to their Xbox.

This game is the exception. Shoot to Kill remains a hardcore shooter through and through but it makes some key concessions and innovations to keep the player interested in playing on such a small device. First, the players’ movement is restricted to nothing. This allows the player to focus purely on aiming rather than struggling constantly with a virtual thumb-stick that’s either too small for thumbs or so large that it takes up a quarter of the screen. There’s also the incredibly simple goal: shoot the monsters before they get to you. This primary goal never changes.

So how does this gameplay concept keep from getting boring? Shoot to Kill’s brilliantly designed campaign mode manages to mess with the formula just enough each level to keep the player interested. Every level introduces a new monster or a new gun. As you progress through the layers of hell, each on based on a deadly sin, Dante’s Inferno style, you begin to realize that the new, larger guns are actually based on that particular sin. The “wrath” level gives you a chainsaw, “greed” offers you a gun that steals the life of any enemy you use the gun to kill, and so on. These thoughtful touches, as well as a reload mechanic that adds a sense of strategy to the game, make up for the lack of depth that one often finds in iPhone games of this type.

Like I said, this game involves hell, demons, really big guns and pentagrams. If you’re into that sort of thing, this game is a no-brainer at less than a dollar. If you’re not, it’s probably worth taking a look at nonetheless.

Review copy provided by publisher.

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