NRA: Practice Range (Free) by MEDL MOBILE is a first-person shooter game brought to you by the biggest gun organization in the world. You’ve probably already heard about this app in the news. I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to review it.
Before I get started on my review, I’ll fill you in on what I’ve learned about the history and seller of this app. First of all, today’s headline news for NRA: Gun Practice is that that it is labeled as being rated for ages four and up. I’m looking at the summary page right now and it shows that the app is rated for ages 12 years and older. So, someone decided to up the age limit sometime today. We can all stop being shocked about it now.
There are also rumors floating around that the game is counterfeit. The app doesn’t ever use the entire name, National Rifle Association, but uses “NRA” instead. This led some to believe it is not associated with the actual NRA, but launched by a fraudulent company who is either trying to make the NRA look bad, or is trying to generate a lot of coverage. Whether this is true or not, the app has achieved both.
I looked into it and found that the app directly links to the NRA-ILA, which is the “lobbying” arm of the National Rifle Association. Plus, there is a direct link to gun safety and training at the official NRA website and a link to the NRA Hunters’ Rights website. So, there it is.
On with my review.
Players start off with the option of choosing an indoor range, an outdoor range, or skeet shooting practice. Each range has three different levels of difficulty, Skakey, Hot Shot, and Dead Eye. The different difficulties mean increased targets at faster speeds, making it more difficult to hit every target within the given period of time.
Players aim their weapon by pointing their device around the room. The app uses augmented reality controls so you have to physically move around in order to change your angle and view. You can switch to analog (a virtual joystick), but those controls are awful. It is better to stick with the gyroscope method.
Each range offers different types of shooting practice and lets you shoot with different types of guns. The indoor range includes an M9 for free. Players can unlock other handguns, like the Beretta and Colt for $0.99 each. The outdoor range includes an M16 and offers the ability to unlock other assault rifles like the AK47 for $0.99 each. The skeet shooting range includes a Mossberg 500. Players can unlock other shotguns in this section for $0.99 each.
In addition to the three shooting ranges, players can find out more information about the NRA, the NRA-IL, gun safety, the hunting season schedules, gun laws, and more. This is definitely an app devoted to the National Rifle Association, whether created by the organization or not. So, if you aren’t into the NRA, don’t download the app. If you are into it, you’ll appreciate this little game.
There are a lot of problems with the game play. For example, it crashes quite often. There doesn’t seem to be a specific reason for the bug. It crashed on me in different ranges using different difficulty levels. I played the game on a third-generation iPad running iOS 6.0.1.The trigger also seems like it has a delayed reaction. When you tap the screen to fire, it lags for a fraction of a second.
I generally don’t like how the gyroscope feature works. You have to hold your device at or above eye level most of the time in order to aim your gun. This gets tiring on an iPad. I tried switching to analog, but the virtual joystick is even worse. I recommend playing the game on an iPhone, since it is much lighter.
I’m not giving this app a bad review because I have an agenda. I’m giving it a bad review because I’m a gamer and the game portion of it is not very good. Since it is free, why not try it out for yourself and see if you have a different experience than me.
Overall, this app is interesting and conveniently offers news and information relating to the National Rifle Association. However, as a game, it just doesn’t pass muster.