A Thug In Time, a moniker only a mother could love, is a time travel shooter with a touch of gangster flair within its sci-fi world. The goal is to collect crystals from different parts of time and save humanity in the process. Plotlines are just window dressing for this bullet infested title, which has tons of action to spare. Even though it's free to play, this thug may be a total waste of space. So does this bad boy deliver?

The downside of many freemium models is their crass attempts at money grabbing right from the get go. A Thug In Time actually veers from this catastrophe and offers up a solid alternative. Although it will save gamers time to purchase in-game currency for weapon upgrades, money can be earned by killing everything in sight.

Blasting your way through artillery heavy monsters and crates that hide health power ups and gold is easier said than done. Once you kill a few enemies, more will pop up to take you down and unless you know exactly where to go or have a highly upgraded machine gun, you'll die soon, and often. I may have mowed down a bunch of bad guys in the forest, but my health score of 29 gave me just an extra 15 seconds of play time -- and then I met the big thug in the sky.

The great news is that after you perish, your gold doesn't magically vanish. So you really won't die in vain in this shooter, as collecting more currency will lead to more weapons upgrades or purchases, which will then give you a better shot at surviving these difficult stages. With 65 levels in all, there's a whole lot of worlds to explore, but getting there is another story. Devoting a healthy portion of your time is necessary to fully unlock the Thug In Time levels, since this game is not an easy shoot 'em up.

Anxious players will need to purchase cash immediately once they realize the difficulty factor, but more frugal gamers are not wasting their time either. A Thug In Time is a pure winner simply based on the visceral feel of the action. The developers didn't go conservative with the gunfire, and by offering up two control pads (one on the left for moving, the right side is for directing your shooting) they've brazenly created a more challenging way to kill your foes.

The easy route would have been to have a virtual joystick for movement and a tap feature for indiscriminate shooting. A Thug In Time chooses the path less traveled, and such a choice gives a bit of creative gravitas. I may continue to unsuccessfully defend invaders from entering my time portal, but at least I'm having fun getting my hat handed to me.

Along with machine guns, you also have the choice of using dual glocks during combat. Both weapons can be switched out with each firefight, and both kill toys, once fully upgraded, should move you to the next level in a more expedited fashion. Since each level has its share of challenges, a yellow directional arrow will point you on which section you must cover next, so amidst all that chaos and violence there is a linear progression within the game. Whatever you do, just follow the yellow arrow and destroy everything in your path.

If nonstop action and a hail of bullets is your guilty pleasure of choice,  A Thug In Time won't disappoint. It's a shooter that's on sensory perception overload with gunfire that would make even Tony Montana blush. I'd love to say it holds deeper themes about how we view time travel or the world we live in, but when you're a dimension traveling thug, thinking holds a far distant priority to keeping those glocks locked and loaded.


App Store Link: A Thug In Time for iPhone & iPad | Destructamobile LLC | Price: Free | Version: 1.0 | 397 MB | Rating: 12+

7.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating