Enemy Strike Review
The iOS platform is great for many types of games. Physics puzzlers, platformers, running games, racing games, and even hack and slash games work very well with the touch screen. They’ve adapted to the new medium very well. First person shooters haven’t made the leap as gracefully. With the exception of a very select few, FPS games simply don’t work well on the iOS. Enemy Strike is a FPS. Shall we have a look and see if it makes it into the rarified air or is blown to bit by a friendly fire airstrike of mediocrity?
Enemy Strike doesn’t mess around when it comes to pulling you into the game. The first time you boot it up, you’re thrust straight into the tutorial mission that shows you the ropes. Unlike other FPS games that strive for mobility and chest high walls, Enemy Strike plays the genre a bit differently. Essentially it is a turret FPS. You’re resigned to panning a 120 degree field of view, eliminating enemies without mercy until the announcer says the mission is over.
The choice to make Enemy Strike a turret based FPS was a right decision by the developers. It solves so many of the issues that plague touchscreen FPS games, the least of which being dodgy movement and aiming controls. But, sadly, Enemy Strike squanders any goodwill it has earned very quickly.
While the aiming, shooting, and cover controls work well, the rest of the gameplay is a bit of a mess. When you run out of bullets, you’re forced to reach up to the top of the screen and tap to purchase more bullets. Then, once purchased, you need to tap the gun icon to reload your weapon. This makes tackling a large group of enemies incredibly frustrating. Instead of this purchase more bullets nonsense, it would have made much more sense to give each weapon infinite ammo but a cooldown period that extends longer each time you hit the heat threshold of each weapon. This would make gameplay more fluid and less like managing your bank account.
Once you’ve purchased some bullets for your weapon, you need to fling those bullets at some enemies. The problem is that you have almost no idea where those bullets will go. It is to be expected that in regular aiming mode, there would be a wider spread of projectiles, but when looking down the ironsights, your gun should be much more accurate. Someone seems to have forgotten to program this since aiming down the sights really doesn’t do a damn thing for your accuracy in Enemy Strike. One enemy stood out in open ground only a few yards away, yet it took me two full clips to take him down even though I had the sights aimed directly at his head. I even readjusted to make sure it wasn’t just a glitch.
Speaking of glitches, the enemies have a funny habit of hovering around the screen without moving their feet. They’ll occasionally make a lackadaisical attempt at a step or two, but most are content to hover and slide around as if on roller blades. I know these are supposed to be aliens, but I somehow doubt they are wearing hover-boots. They would seem highly useless in a firefight. They move more like shooting gallery marionettes with sticks up their bottoms.
For having over 200 levels, Enemy Strike sure did skimp on the voice over script. There's only one character that talks throughout the game and he has a vocabulary of only a few dozen words. After only three missions, he started to repeat himself. After an hour of gameplay I was pretty sure his voice over script could have fit onto a bar napkin. Pair that with the same generic symphonic rock that you find in every modern day military shooter and movie trailer and you've got the perfect ingredients for a generic cocktail.
Usually you can forgive a free game for having an advertisement here and there. Maybe a banner at the top or bottom of a menu is usually ok. But when games start hitting you with pop-up ads between screens, it makes for an annoyance that thoroughly breaks you out of the gaming trance.
It isn’t all bad though! The AI of the enemies is intelligent enough to slip out of your stream of bullets and head for some cover. The graphics aren’t too bad either. The backgrounds look well detailed and really give you a sense of place. They are nowhere near AAA as they suggest on the App Store page, but they work well enough to slip by even the more discerning eyes.
Overall, Enemy Strike is a forgettable game with some serious faults. The turret style FPS does give me a bit of hope for the genre on a touchscreen device, but this title isn't nearly enough to convince me that its a viable genre. Hopefully with a few updates, Enemy Strike could rise above its faults and become a more enjoyable title. For now, you might want to give this a pass and cough up a couple bucks for one of the few, more capable iOS FPS games like N.O.V.A 3.