Trigger Fist is a third-person shooter, trying to take its place among the shooter masses in the App Store. I know, it already sounds like a case of “generic game”, but Trigger Fist actually does make an effort to differentiate itself among its peers. How?

Well, I would say by “trimming the fat”, but without a negative connotation. It simplifies any excess and leaves behind a promising base to work with.

Starting with the controls: you know how in most shooters one joystick moves your character and the other moves your head/gun? Well, they keep the first joystick for player movement, but Trigger Fist says no to the second joystick. The game restricts your camera movement to just left and right with simple finger swiping (they put a laser dot in the center of the screen to show where exactly you’re aiming). Yes, I can hear the iPhone shooter purists crying foul, and they might have a reason to. But for people who feel that the second joystick in touch shooters can become cumbersome and unintuitive, (like me) it’s a great addition…I mean, retraction. All the other control button placements and actions remain the same as in other games, (tap gun icon to reload, touch red button to fire, and so on.) but combining those with the retraction of the camera joystick make Trigger Fist feel and play very differently from other iPhone shooters, and that’s a good thing.

And for those wondering: no, I never thought for a second that the simplified control scheme made the game easy. You’ll still be challenged to obtain kills, and you’ll still be hiding and running for your virtual life.

Trigger Fist keeps up the “get rid of the excess” MO with its setup. It’s as simple as a modern-day shooter can be, with four modes (available in “singleplayer” or multiplayer), and six maps. The modes are staples, of course. Free for All, Team Deathmatch, King of the Hill (capture and hold a territory), and Capture the Flag (except Trigger Fist’s “Capture the Flag” is called “Sacred Goat”, and replaces the flag with the namesake animal, which rides on your back when “captured”). And the maps are likewise standard, with the obligatory Middle Eastern marketplace, abandoned parking lot, missile base, etc. Although the maps and modes work in their familiarity, they can be called out for being a bit too generic. But if the actual gameplay itself is good, none of that matters, right?

Right. Too bad Trigger Fist’s gameplay isn’t good enough. You see, Trigger Fist really has no “Singleplayer” (no Campaign or Story mode), instead, you’re left with the aforementioned modes and maps filled with seven other Computer-controlled bot enemies. The modes are fun to play at first, and the three character classes the game offers (again, standard: Heavy, Assault, and Scout, differing only in what weapons they can carry.) give you a little incentive to keep playing and leveling up your classes, thus getting better weapons and abilities. But although it’s very playable, with a shooter designed without a story mode and left to stand on a series of modes that were originally built for multiple human players, it’s odd to leave the job of humans to the game’s AI. Now, the computer enemies are by no means bad: if the game didn’t rely on them so much, I’d have a whole paragraph praising their “intelligence”. But, no matter how stellar the bots are, they can never compare to playing with real people.

So you’ll want to get some other people in on the party, but don’t expect too much. To start, the most actual people you can play with on Wi-Fi are 3 (4 including you), a number that will more than likely leave people feeling lonely. Even if you get a “full” match (3 humans plus you), you’ll still be playing with 4 bots to keep the constant 4 vs. 4 setup, and you always run the risk that your human opponents will just quit. Worse still, the amount of lag apparent even with only one other person is unacceptable in a game this simplified. With the experience I had with human players, it wasn’t uncommon for me to wrangle one or two into a match only for them to quit, leaving me alone again with the bots.

As far as the polish goes, the devs keep things very plain there too. The graphics aren’t quite worth harping on, as long as you don’t come expecting great textures or lively environments. The sound also leaves only the absolute essentials (restraining the music to the menu): walking, gunfire, grenades/rpgs, reloading, etc. The polish is just so basic that it’s actually hard to complain about.

In Conclusion

Trigger Fist could have been good. Instead the simplified game cuts one corner too many and becomes prematurely boring. The very lacking multiplayer and bare-essentials game modes become dull, and chances are, you’ll be deleting the game before too long. It’s a shame, since there was (and still is) potential, but for now: pass it.