First-person shooters are somewhat of a rare find in the App Store. Sure, there are more popping up here and there, but none really compete with the likes of Gameloft’s blockbuster Modern Combat and NOVA franchises. Critical Missions: SWAT (out now, $2.99) is Studio OnMars’ attempt to make that list by bringing a completely customizable shooter to iOS.
There isn’t a campaign mode that follows a story or anything, just several solo and multiplayer modes. The classic solo mode allows you to set up a match, pick a team (terrorists or SWAT), select how many players each team has, and then shoot each other as you try to complete your team’s objectives (or prevent the other team from completing theirs). If you play well, you earn cash that you can then spend on new weapons and ammo. The same thing applies to multiplayer modes, too, which played fairly smoothly for me. There’s also a zombie survival mode because that seems to be fashionable for iOS games now.
Zombie mode is awesome. A random player is chosen to be the zombie, and he or she must infect as many other players as possible. Other modes include Zombie Match (similar to team deathmatch but with zombies to help you fight), Juggernaut (the game host has extra speed and health, who the other players must take down), and Capture the Flag (which needs no introduction). There’s definitely a wide range of modes to keep you entertained for a long time.
It all sounds well and good in writing, but some of you may find it difficult to control. I’ve been playing first-person shooters on my iPhone for years, so I’m accustomed to the on-screen controls. You have the typical setup here – slide your finger around the right side of the screen to look around, move the joystick in the bottom-left to move, and tap the little cross-hair in the bottom-right to fire.
The maps are a bit hit-and-miss. Some are exceptional and fun to explore, such as Harbour where you can jump in and out of ships, whereas others are extremely limiting and just plain boring, such as Football where there is simply a rectangular green box. There are more maps available to download if you get bored of the default ones, but they also suffer from the same problem.
iFanzine Verdict: Critical Missions: SWAT is a really good first-person shooter. Sure, it may not have the prettiest of graphics or the most exciting maps, but the wide variety of game modes and online multiplayer make it a game worth considering for any FPS fan.