Pocket PC Gaming: Is Shadow Warrior Worth Playing on iOS?
Should Shadow Warrior retreat to the shadows?
There are tons of classic shooters and other games of the same ilk available on iOS and Android now, and you'd need a shovel to dig your way out of the astronomical amount of apps you'd get buried in if you made a list. You can even play the entire BioShock campaign on your mobile device now, which is absolutely crazy. But just because something is available to you, that doesn't mean it should be. Shadow Warrior is one such game; the follow-up by 3D Realms to Duke Nukem 3D. It's been quite some time since the game has been in the public eye at all, and it's been given the iOS treatment. Unfortunately, it suffers from damaging motion control options, but it does bring the campy old-school shooter attitude. Is it worth your time? Honestly, you can probably pass on this one.
Shadow Warrior is very much like its predecessor, although it follows the tale of a very different protagonist: Lo Wang and the rest of the Warriors, all hitmen of sorts from major corporations all over the globe. Lo Wang must eventually bite the hand that feeds him, as he happens upon damning evidence that his handlers are actually bringing forth vicious demons, summoning them to smash through Japan and destroying civilization as he knows it. Lo Wang isn't down with that, so Zilla Corporation must go down. As you might expect, Zilla isn't exactly pleased with their star hitman's discovery, so retaliatory actions must be taken. This leads to Lo Wang being forced to confront demons of his own, sent to silence him. Shadow Warrior ensues.
Except there's one very large misstep here: the port is nowhere near as easy to control with a touch screen layout. Like Duke Nukem 3D and many shooters on the platform before it, touch controls are simply not accurate enough to ensure you're performing as well as you could be. There are two ways you can play: using the thumbstick on the left side of the screen and aim with the right side of the screen, or choose two thumbsticks for both moving Lo Wang and aiming. Neither are particularly delectable options, as both make it difficult to control the camera and other buttons get in the way of the more important ones. For example, running and aiming at enemies is nowhere near as smooth as it should be, and for a game like this that's ridiculously important. Neither control scheme feels comfortable, and while it's understood there will be discrepancies between the preferred method of play and what you're working with here, it's just not optimal.
Shadow Warrior is still fundamentally a passable shooter, though obviously dated, but it suffers from the same issues many similar endeavors do, especially when ported to iOS devices. It's chock-full of the same run-and-gun action you're looking for if you're used to this era of gaming, but it's not worth the extra $1.99 if you test the waters and feel the same way regarding the stiff, nonviable controls. It's far too frustrating a price tag. There are more polished offerings on the App Store if you need a shooter. If you want to relive your Shadow Warrior memories, check out a PC version instead.