Crisp graphics! Satisfying gameplay! Wicked fun first-person shooter! That’s exactly what Archetype was designed to be. Villain LLC, the developer behind the game, set out to create a shooter for the iPhone that pushes the platform to its limits and immerses its players in an amazing online multiplayer team deathmatch shoot-em up.

The game comes equipped with full online multiplayer over wifi or 3G in a team-only deathmatch setting. Although it offers a short tutorial/practice zone, Archetype’s full potential is realized when jumping into its online infrastructure. Joining games is extremely easy, with a matchmaking system that never takes more than a couple seconds to pair you up with some fragging buddies. Once your team is assembled in the lobby, one of the five maps will be selected for you and the opposing team to wage war within.

Archetype’s level design is a bit industrial, but fits the tone of the game well. Each map is designed with a specific style and purpose, allowing the players to discover their optimal fragging potential. Spread out among the levels are 6 unique weapons each offering their own method of dispatching opponents. From assault rifles to rocket launchers, this game offers the standard array of weapons found in most casual online shooters.

The controls in this game are fantastic! Just like many other first person shooters, you have the ability to auto-fire once an enemy is centered in your crosshairs. This method of course benefits the user as he or she is able to concentrate fully on aiming the weapon and bouncing about to avoid enemy fire. Controls are fluid and work wonderful for a shooter, 100% utilizing the touch screen. The dual thumb-sticks have been implemented in a way that doesn’t clog the screen or interfere with gameplay.

Unfortunately, once you learn the five levels, the game simply becomes a matter of working your way up the ranking and medal system. As you win matches, you gain experience and increase your rank which ultimately doesn’t earn you rewards, just new rank titles. Medals (more commonly referred to as “achievements”) are also rewarded for completing certain in-game tasks. Archetype feels very much like it’s been designed to be expanded upon, so I’m not too worried about the content growing stale. In fact, I’ve heard talk of new gameplay modes (and of course maps and weapons) mentioned in other discussions.

In Conclusion

Overall, for $2.99 you get an impressive package here! No micro-transactions and some of the absolute best iPhone 4-enhanced graphics I’ve seen yet. Archetype certainly has one of the most polished set of gameplay mechanics and online multiplayer experience. In my opinion, a new king has been crowned in terms of first-person shooter glory. As I type this, Archetype is currently ranked in at #4 on the Top Paid Apps list in the US. With such staying power, the game is surely to be supported to its fullest potential. Add a couple more maps and maybe some capture the flag and it will be golden.