First person shooters are as common as the day is long, and Neon Shadow may seem like another title to throw into that scrap heap. Some of the finest FPS efforts, however, understand that reinventing the wheel isn't the most important road to success. Instead, offering gamers a purely visceral, kick ass experience can go a long way, and Neon Shadow tries to blaze a similar trail.

The first thing to get out of the way is the app's bare bones plotline. Machines have taken over your space station and your job is to wipe them out and take out an artificial intelligent being who has gone rogue. It's a simple enough narrative device, and each level you clear gets you closer to the goal.

But Neon Shadow isn't aiming for thematic nuance, as it simply wants to hit you right in the gut as a diverting FPS experience. One of the key steps in achieving that mission is to have an easy to use control system. Moving from room to room requires dragging a finger on the left side of your device, with the firing button located on the right. Aiming at your target also requires moving your finger on the right side of the screen.

Getting a precise shot during battle is a bit difficult since there is no auto-target function (at least for the weapons I've collected during single play and online mode), but that's really neither here nor there. Your shotgun is the weakest gun in your arsenal, and they are best used at taking out the laser turrets that are equipped in each stage. Most of the time you'll be in a room full of droids blowing them to kingdom come with a completely upgraded weapon, meaning little aiming is necessary.

Surviving each section requires a good amount of health, ammunition, and weapon variety. Each of these are available to pick up during your mission, and even though you will be surrounded by flying droids, hard to kill ground based robots, and the aforementioned turrets, surviving the levels isn't too difficult. Of course, running blindly into a firefight without a sense of where to grab the next health boost or bullet refill will get you killed, but most seasoned FPS players should easily get the lay of the land. Unfortunately, I rarely take my own advice, and have been on the receiving end of a few bloody exchanges.

I tried multiplayer mode three times, waiting at least a minute for a competitor to arrive. The third time I hit gold, and was promptly fragged silly during my deathmatch. When more gamers get a hold of Neon Shadow, finding an adversary shouldn't be too much of a problem, and since I've been having so much fun under the campaign mode, I'm more than amenable to a longer wait time.

Co-op mode is also available, and thanks to a split screen view you and a friend can share an iPad and for co-op campaign or a simple deathmatch. Since my friends rarely visit me, I checked out both versions just to see if they worked seamlessly, and they passed the test. Switching my iPad back and forth, pretending I was two people, is not exactly life affirming, so make sure you have at least another warm body when you're Neon Shadowing it co-op style. Plus, how many guns can you really horde all by your lonesome?

Neon Shadow also contains a first rate cyber punk score from Abducted by Sharks, giving the game an added layer of luster. Even if Neon Shadow didn't have all the online and audio trimmings, it would still exist as a solid FPS app. With these additions, it really turns the game into a first rate journey. You may have been down the same road many times before, but grab a gun and don't be afraid to shoot. For just a $1.99 download, Neon Shadow won't leave you in the dark.


App Store Link: Neon Shadow for iPhone & iPad | By Crescent Moon Games LLC | Price: $1.99 | Version: 1.1 | 119 MB | Rating 12+

8.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating