Where action adventure games go, Bounty Arms (out now, $4.99) looks fabulous. And when something looks good, you tend to expect more out of it. Sad to say, the gameplay – or more specifically, the controls – may dash your hopes.

photo-3-600x400In Bounty Arms, you can play as one of three very different bounty hunters, each with their own unique set of skills. Drake Mass, a gun-toting man, has the ability to turn red and berserk to demolish nearby enemies. Goober, a monstrous oddity who wields a rocket launcher can stomp on the ground, causing a mound of ice shards to spike up and impale anyone who’s unlucky enough to be within range. The last bounty hunter is Flux Helix, a robot who shoots lasers from his eyes. Flux can call for additional help in the form of small green orbs that hover about, searing enemies with lasers.

During each game, you will explore the environment collecting coins, rubies, Bounty Arms logos, etc. Within a game, you’ll need to pay 250 coins in order to open doors and treasure chests, though you can always decline since you may not get back more than what you pay. With rubies, you can adopt pets for extra aid. However, to use your pets, you’ll also need to obtain eggs. You can use your coins to upgrade your pets. It’s a pity you can’t upgrade the characters themselves.

photo-3-1-600x400Shooting and battling enemies is the heart of Bounty Arms, yet it is the most disappointing part of the game due to lackluster controls. Targeting enemies, especially flying bots, feels like potluck. Want to aim above your head? Forget it. All you can do is jump about and shoot in whatever direction your character’s facing. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, a stray shot will strike an enemy. The only thing decent about the controls is the left virtual joystick, but that alone doesn’t help you kill enemies. Melee battles are a lot more straightforward than shooting. Luckily, dying with a level is quite forgiving, and you can resume the game at the last checkpoint with little penalty.

Bounty Arms currently offers 10 levels. There’s a bit of story and text dialogue, but it’s quite forgettable. The best part about this action adventure game is its detailed graphics and scenery, but Bounty Arms is an example of why looks aren’t everything. The imprecise targeting lets down what might otherwise be a fun game.

iFanzine Verdict: Bounty Arms scores high points for its graphics, however, due to its feeble controls, especially with respect to enemy targeting, I can’t recommend it wholeheartedly. Those who don’t mind imprecise firing controls may perhaps enjoy this more than I did. Melee combat at least works decently.