Lock 'n' Load ($0.99) by Chillingo Ltd is a story-based action shooter with two campaigns and varied gameplay that keeps you locked in until the end.
Dual-stick shooters run amuck in the App Store, but something about the simple gameplay gets me to try every single one of them. At first glance, Lock ‘n’ Load appears to be another one of those generic shooters, but after you spend a few minutes playing, you will see that there is so much more to it.
In terms of controls, Lock ‘n’ Load is a dual-stick shooter, so you have a stick on the left for movement, and a stick on the right for shooting. At the moment there isn’t an option to switch this, but if it turns out to be a problem I’m sure it would be included in a quick update. Also, the visuals in Lock ’n’ Load are outstanding. Every detail looks crisp, and it runs very smoothly on an iPhone 4.
Lock ‘n’ Load is very much driven by its story. The basic plot is that a demented little girl is bent on taking over the world, and you – as some guy with a sick hockey mask – must stop her at all costs. Things get a little crazy on your quest to defeat the girl, and you will run into around 30 different types of "baddies." Of course, having just one campaign wouldn’t be special, so Gamelab included a second campaign – with a new plot (related to the first) and a new main character. This can be unlocked with a good chunk of in-game currency.
Apart from the story, Lock ‘n’ Load is all about nonstop shooting. For the most part, enemies are waiting for you throughout the levels, but at times you will be confined to a small area and will have to defeat a set amount of enemies (they just keep spawning) before you can move on. Like a said, there is a huge variety of enemies, and they each have a unique attack pattern that keeps you on your toes.
The main campaign itself is split up into 16 rather lengthy levels. Each level is set in a different area, ranging from a graveyard to a crazy mansion. If you collect the three hidden presents in each level you will unlock certain things like new outfits for your character or a challenge level. There are six challenge levels to unlock, along with nine levels in the second campaign. Also, in case you were wondering, there are checkpoints placed throughout the levels.
Lock ‘n’ Load features quite a few unlockables and customization options. There are a total of 17 different outfits to unlock, five of which must be bought as an in-app purchase. Also, there are two guns to unlock (shotgun and flamethrower), as well as some health upgrades and a berserker skill. On top of that, you can choose between normal or hard difficulty, and turn auto-fire or aim assist on or off.
Lock ‘n’ Load is one of those games that truly provides more than meets the eye. Not only is the story deep and intriguing, the gameplay is varied and so action-packed that you won’t want to miss a second. This game will keep you glued to your device for hours on end. Get in on the chase and see if you can handle the fire power.