About 13 years ago, the world was introduced to an amazing game called “Worms” for the PC. Originally developed by Team17, Worms was a tremendous amount of fun with numerous sequels created thereafter. The new iPhone/iPod game, iShoot, developed by Naughty Bits Software, borrows many gameplay elements from the Worms series. That’s not to say that iShoot is a clone of Worms, just that its core gameplay of having multiple tanks shooting at one another with a destructible 2D environment is very similar to Worms. With that said, iShoot’s sales pitch in the App Store sounded very good so I had high expectations before beginning my review of this $2.99 game.
Upon launching iShoot, the first thing you’ll notice is the simplicity of its menu. There are only two options: New Game and Instructions. Selecting instructions gives the player a brief overview of how to play the game, while tapping the other option obviously starts a new game. Up to four players can participate in iShoot, with the remainder of the spots optionally being filled by AI opponents. It’s worth noting that the AI for iShoot is not particularly challenging until you hit the absolute top level. To illustrate, a “hard” computer opponent in a one-on-one match is decently beatable, yet an “extreme” opponent is frustratingly challenging with most of their shots being dead-on.
This game has a turn based gameplay. A player can control a single tank to play this game. The object of this game is to do whatever it takes to destroy the other tank. You have numerous weapons and every hit takes out not just the opponent but also the surrounding terrain. This roughs up the terrain and makes it difficult to aim accurately. This adds to the fun as even a fluke shot at the right angle can score a direct hit. Or, both tanks may be at the end of the tether but yet survive just because the opponent cannot aim accurately and hit the other tank.
The most valuable aspect of this game is its weapons. There is a lot of choice available as far as weapons are concerned. Before the start of each stage, you are given funds to purchase weapons. You should choose your weapons wisely. Going in for the expensive Shiva bomb will leave you with very little money for any other weapon. Using the weapon is a tactical decision and should be taken accordingly. To use the nuke to create a crater and restrict the opponent or to use it to finish off the opponent is a million dollar question. If you want some space, you can opt for the terrain modifying weapons to create mounds or walls to block the access routes of your enemy. The weapons form the most interesting aspect of this game and this game would never had been very popular had it not been for the wonderful choices available as far as weapons are concerned.
If you do not want to focus on moving the tank around, you must opt for a simple map of a hill. On the other hand, if you want wickedly complex maps, opt for the one where you fight on top of Mount Rushmore. This game would have been a lot more fun had the developers permitted the players to choose their maps. Currently, you have to play on the map assigned by the game. This restriction prevents you from playing on your favorite map again and again.
The 2D graphics of iShoot is nothing to write home about. It is the average for such a game. The tanks are small and are not designed in detail. The players do not expect anything else as well. However, the environments have been very well designed and are very dynamic. However, the periodic frame rate slowdown leaves a bad taste in the mouth. The presence of a frame rate stutter in a 2D environment is proof of very careless coding by the developers. This is one issue that must be fixed.
Another disappointment is the lack of background music on iShoot. The only sounds that you get to hear on this game are those of firing and explosions. Absence of a background score is considered acceptable for a $1 game. However, a good quality back ground score is required for this game considering that this is a $3 game.
All things considered, iShoot is truly a fun game – mark my words. However, it also seems a little overpriced given it’s functionality. It’s only got one mode and the core gameplay couldn’t have been too hard to program. A lot of work went into making the multitude of weapons and maps, I’m sure, but that seems offset by the lack of music and lack of real menu design. Given its price, iShoot feels pretty average, thus earning it a final score of 7.5 out of 10. It’s fun and will definitely provide any gamer with a lot of entertainment. Even at $2.99, it’s certainly a solid inclusion in any iPhone/iPod gamer’s library.
Game Score: 7.5 / 10