Remember those trips to the arcade as a kid? Personally, I’d always pick out the shooter cabinet first, since no other type of game could get my adrenaline racing like a FPS with a rumbling gun prop. Whether it was rescuing hostages in Time Crisis, or fending off flesh-hungry dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, any of these action-packed games were a prime example of how proper immersion could change a laid-back gamer into a sweating, shouting one.
Now, in 2014, along comes Gunfinger, a mobile shooter that seems to try to harken back to those legendary games of the past. But can it succeed on such a small platform?
Using the titular tap controls, Gunfinger is a fairly straight-forward arcade shooter compromised of a string of mini-levels, wherein you level the undead with various firearms. It might seem like I’m oversimplifying things, but the game really does start to fall into that one-trick-pony mindset very quickly. Shooting the undead is fun, of course, but there’s little real substance to the gameplay, so those looking for a deep experience will want to skip the game already.
However, the firefights do contain decent action. The controls feel right, and the addition of a slow-motion killcam really gives impact to a well-placed headshot. The game is aesthetically well done, with graphics that look fit for a flashing screen in a Chuck-E-Cheese, and excellent sound effects and a cool soundtrack. Little bits of polish like those are what really keeps the game moving forward. With that said, it’s time to move on to the numerous problems which keep Gunfinger from shining.
To start with, each micro-level is far too short, and it feels like just when you’re starting to enjoy the action, the stage ends. Not to mention each of the numerous levels tend to blend together after a while. Generally, these places where the game falls short aren’t horrible, but the threat of mobile micro transactions comes true, and keeps the game from ever gaining good footing. The addition of timer paywalls, as well as a series of other In-App-Purchases centered around the weapon upgrade system only serves to aggravate and demean what little good the game offers. Frankly, even if you do have fun with the Gunfinger and you want to play further, you’re going to struggle to wait through those timers, which lock you out of the game until your “stamina” replenishes.
Quickly, anyone who partakes in this particular experience will realize that, though sometimes fun, Gunfinger is so overly generic. Its two main draws, light gun shooting and torching the undead have been done to absolute death (or un-death). And since it fails to bring anything particular to the table that will stick with the player, it’s probably not going to last very long on your home screen.
Gunfinger tries to capture the fun, frantic action of beloved arcade cabinets, but manages only to take away that same hunger for cash as its ancestors. What little gameplay there is, is too short, and too repetitive, and most of the fun of this particular app is quickly sucked out by the soulless cash-grabbing within. It seems to come out of the gate running, but its zombified limbs quickly fall off, reducing this app to a crawl. Best case scenario, you’ll get a little time-wasted out of it, then forget it. It’s sad to say, but I doubt there’s a gamer that this app will satisfy.