Shoot to Kill is an action arcade survival game for the iPhone as well as the iPad. This review is based on the HD version for the iPad. The gameplay and overall feel to the game should, however, be similar for both devices. The basic outline of the game is to simply shoot your way through the depths of hell and survive till you get out of it. Yeah, don’t ask me how the hell you smuggled a gun in. Read on for the review.
Shoot to Kill as mentioned earlier is an action arcade survival game. I’m not too sure I should use the word horror inside there or not since the game isn’t exactly that scary or meant to be scary (I think). The main aim is to simply survive throughout the levels. There is a simple storyline that goes with the game saying that you are trapped within the depths of hell or something like that and you are trying to escape. As you know, hell is depicted in many ways and one of the more common and familiar concept of hell would be the Dante’s Inferno (Yes the poem, and the console game that is based off it). There are the different circles of hell, first circle the circle of Limbo, second the circle of lust etc.
So you are simply escaping as you are basically stuck at the bottom, slowly travelling up the depths. And to do so, you are to fend yourself off demons in hell that are trying to kill you. Killing demons is by simply blasting them with a gun, rocket launcher or even laser beams later on. Not sure how on earth the character managed to smuggle those in but yeah that is as mindless as how the story goes. Story doesn’t do much, just helps contextualize the gameplay weakly but its fine. For such a game, you’re probably not bothering about the story and more of the gameplay.
You are given 3 choices to play the game. 1 is the single player story campaign mode, another is the multiplayer mode where you cooperate with a friend and lastly is the survival mode where you simply survive for as long as you can while racking up the points for the high score board. The mechanism works exactly the same for all the 3 different modes. You simply tap on the screen to fire in that particular direction, tap on a certain area to reload or flick your device to reload (similar to that of the arcade shooters like time crisis or something). That is basically it. You are also given a special weapon to use, ammunition for it is scarce and do need to be used only when necessary.
Each level you are to fend of waves of demon. You are trapped in one spot, but that shouldn’t be much of a problem. The main fun comes in killing the demons. There are different types of demons present, some requiring specific methods to handle them. All these different variations of guns and demons gets introduced as you proceed on through the game, giving you a sense of variety as well as a difficulty growth to keep the game challenging.
There are mini modifications to the levels as well as you proceed, for example the later levels put you inside a dark place where you can only see the eyes of the demons and another where you are travelling upwards and the demons are hanging and clinging on the walls. This added modifications are definitely welcomed and nice to see as it keeps the game interesting.
There are additional gameplay mechanics whereby it determines the replenishing of your health as well as your secondary special ammo. It all appears integrated within the circle you are trapped within. An outer ring that shows different stuff and the lightning of the different stars etc. Not sure how to explain what each does (cause I’m not too sure myself), but you can take a look at the screenshot to get a clearer idea. Another thing is the idea of scoring. You can chain up huge amount of points if you are able to kill the demons one after the other without missing one bullet. This is harder though as soon as the demons gain the ability to become like ninjas, dodging your every first shot. Still this added points system gives the game a little more competitive feel for gamers who want to compare scores with others.
Controls are fine, the tapping mechanics works well, aiming and shooting as well. Reloading is great, a plus with the tilting device to reload, makes the game feel much more action packed and exciting. There is this small penalty (I think) that if you don’t reload in time and if your gun is empty, it takes a longer time to reload that way. Therefore you have to constantly reload to ensure that you don’t have to bear such a penalty which can be costly in the later stages.
Presentation wise the game is fine. Overall theme of the game, which is supposedly devilish or demonic, runs throughout the narration, sound effects as well as the graphics. The graphics are fine nothing out of the ordinary that needs special mentioning. The effects for the gun firing and the different gun effects are generic. Sound effects aren’t of high quality but do give the thrill of surviving in hell. The background music is fine but if you do feel it becoming a bit too repetitive you can switch to your own music. There are also these graphical effects whenever you chain up high combos that make the game feel much more arcade like. Interestingly though is the selection of colour and font of these textual enhancements, I mean why not take a devilish looking font and colour rather than bright happy and gay fonts?
Overall the game is fine. Nothing outstanding here or jaw dropping that makes it a must buy. Game only feels fun when played in bursts, lengthy playthrough will make the game feel really boring and old and without any much incentive or bonus to play, you’ll get tired of the game soon enough. The game works well, nothing broken and the shooting and reloading mechanics do the game good, especially the reloading which actually does make the game feel different from the rest. There is the trial version that you can try out and only if you find the gameplay really fun should you then purchase it, else the fun you get from the trial is going to be almost as much as that you can squeeze from the full version.