Grab your gear and fall in line! You're a soldier on a mission to blow everything up in Total Recoil. Seriously, the rules of Total Recoil are as follows: Rule 1: Shoot anything that moves; Rule 2: Shoot anything that doesn’t. Awesome! Those are the kind of rules I can get behind, seeing as how my typical strategy is to run around a level like a hyena on crack. Well, Total Recoil encourages that cracked-out Hyena style of gameplay, and is specifically designed to give you the best tools for maximum destruction.
Gameplay modes include Operations, Endless Wave, and Rank Challenge mode. In Operations you play through different levels, ranking up by completing certain challenges. Wave after wave of enemies rain down from the sky and you just fire away to your little heart’s content. If you take out all the enemies before the next wave hits, you can shoot the multitude of crates and boxes lined around each level giving you coins and weapons. Then, finish each level by defeating a big boss, typically a helicopter or some kind of machine shooting massive missiles at you.
It all sounds like unicorns and rainbows, but Total Recoil is not without its problems. For starters, the stages within a zone all look the same, the only variety you get (if you can call it that), is that the more advanced stages have an extra section you have to fight your way through, but still looks like the rest of the stage. Also, the graphics will often clip through each other and spaz out completely, as you can sort of tell in the picture above and below. For a game with a $1.99 price tag, these kind of technical issues are unacceptable.
Another problem I have with the game is its progression system. You can’t advance to the later stages without being a certain rank. You rank up by completing specific challenges, and if you don’t, you can’t move on. I don’t like being told I can’t move on even after I’ve already completed a stage just because I didn’t achieve these random, minor goals. They're not hard to complete, it's the principle of the matter. But if that doesn't bother you, then you'll have no problem repeating stages until you achieve the appropriate challenges.
Along the same lines, if you die, you have the option to buy another life for 10,000 coins to continue right where you died at. If you don’t have that many coins, you have to start a “New Game”, which will take you back to the beginning of the stage, or sometimes the previous stage, and you do it all over again. While it’s fun to shoot things, there’s not much variety in the game, and is tedious to repeat the same stages over and over and over. Sometimes the game mixes things up by giving you a different types and numbers of enemies, but it still doesn't make up for the endless repetition of stages and enemy types.
There is a way to get around the problems mentioned above if you don't want to repeat levels -- it’s called money. You can buy more lives and you can buy the challenges if you don’t actually want to complete them. If you don’t have enough coins to purchase these things, that’s no problem. Total Recoil is kind enough to take actual money in exchange for more coins.
I like the premise of Total Recoil— destroying any and everything in your path is a lot of fun, the hoops you have to jump through to advance to the next level detracts from the game though.