Overview

iShoot is a nice little war game that takes after the Worms series. The essential action of these games is to fire various weapons across a deformable landscape at your enemies, adjusting trajectory and shot strength to place your shots carefully. One of the best features of the Worms games are the outlandish and plentiful types of weapons – for instance, a Homing Sheep that explodes on impact. iShoot doesn’t have any ovine explosives, but there are quite a few ways to blow up your enemies. There’s not much to the game beside a deathmatch mode, but that one mode is pretty fun.

On a side note, iShoot and its author, Ethan Nicholas were recently featured on Wired.com’s blog, which noted that Ethan has brought in over $600,000 in one month of selling iShoot. Thankfully, I saw this news item after writing my review, so there’s no bandwagon mentality in the text that follows.

Features

  • Line ‘Em Up

The aiming system has two components that are pretty easy to get the hang of. Place your finger on the screen to change the direction of your shot. Hold the Fire button to start building up power, and release it to let your shot fly.

  • Knock ‘Em Down

The array of weapons available to you in iShoot is pretty extensive, even if certain weapons are just larger, more powerful versions of others. Some of these weapons are pretty basic, like a mortar that explodes on impact. Others get a little more creative – the “Great Wall” creates a giant column of dirt that will block shots for a while. Options are always nice.

  • Multiplayer? Yes Please.

Well, okay, it’s not quite multiplayer. If you want, you can set up more than one human player for your game, allowing you to pass the phone around and play with your buddies.This isn’t an ideal way to implement multiplayer – I’d prefer wireless play against other iPhones – but it’s better than nothing.

Breakdown

The Good:

I love games like this, personally. They’re a mix of action and strategy that just scratches the right itch. iShoot doesn’t reinvent the genre, but it’s certainly a serviceable entry amongst other artillery-type games. One thing that stood out for me here were the maps you fight on. Each landscape is fairly striking in its own right, whether it’s a set of rolling hills or you’re fighting on top of Mt. Rushmore. Of course, the image doesn’t last long – all it takes is an Excavator or Meltdown weapon to deform the setting beyond recognition.

The Counter-Strike-inspired loadout system worked great for the most part. Being able to choose which weapons you went to battle with was a big benefit – I was pretty terrible with inaccurate weapons like cluster bombs or stingers, but multi-shot weapons like the vulcan cannon or six gun were perfect for my style.

The Bad:

There’s just that not much to the game. There are only a handful of weapon types that are copied and enlarged to create the illusion of a huge variety. The tanks that serve as avatars for the players, while appropriate, don’t lend much personality. The little quotes that pop up attempt to remedy this, but it didn’t really do the trick. Limited movement of your tank was possible, but especially considering how scarred the battlefields got, it wasn’t really useful.

Gameplay can be kind of slow. I sort of wish there were an option to speed up the action while the computers took their turn. Certain weapons like the stinger missiles can feel like they take forever when all you want to do is fire off another mortar. Also, in order to access the highest-level weapon, you’ve got to abstain from buying practically any weapons in the earlier rounds. I suppose that’s balanced, because the Shiva Bomb is almost a guaranteed win for one round, but the game where I fired mini mortars over and over to be able to check it out was just no fun.

I appreciate the intent with including pass-the-phone multiplayer, but the iPhone’s not a device a bunch of people are going to crowd around. I imagine a session going like “Okay – I just nuked the pants off of Bob. Harry, your turn.” Kinda takes the excitement out of it.

Verdict

Definitely some good fun to be had with this game. To my knowledge it’s the only artillery-style game on the iPhone right now (at least the only one that resembles classic Worms gameplay so closely.) It has its flaws, but overall it’s a decent app to spend your cash on. Thankfully, there’s a lite version that will let you try before you buy. If you’ve got any doubts, check the free download first. If you’re a fan of Worms, I’d just go for it – you’ll probably have a blast!