One Man Army
All quiet on the western front. Well, except for those 20 mutants.
Fieldrunners, the first great tower defense game for the iPhone, inadvertently kick started a flood of copycats that consumed the App Store, for better and worse. We certainly don't mind the genre, but we'd also appreciate a new take on an old concept.
Chillingo and Tickled Pink Games agree. Thus, we have One Man Army, a tower defense game with a twist. In addition to building turrets and other weapons, you also control a gun-toting little dude at the bottom of the screen, which gives you the opportunity to shoot in real time.
It's a great idea that could have led to one of the more innovative mash ups we've seen. Sadly, the final result is disappointingly average.
It begins with the drab presentation, which is clearly Insomniac's Resistance: Fall of Man, circa 2006. The game appears to take place in the past, but you have access to futuristic weaponry. The developers, meanwhile, traded aliens for mutants, some of which bear a resemblance to the Chimera from Resistance.
Clearly, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, especially when it comes to iPhone games. In this case, though, One Man Army looks outdated and boring. The fact that there's little story to speak of and some bad jokes don't help the cause. Even the hero, some gruff faced guy with perfect hair, doesn't appeal to us. He might as well be someone's farmer dad.
In addition, the audio could've used a boost. The gunfire doesn't have enough pop, while other effects don't make the iPhone speakers rumble.
As for the game, we like shooting monsters as they appear, despite the overheating gun. Touch screen targeting, though, isn't as precise as we'd like it to be.
The tower defense portion, though, is spot on, thanks to a variety of objects to use and available upgrades. We also dig the toxic waste barrels that blow up, though the developers force players to press and hold to make one explode, and the process takes too long considering how crazy things get.
That's another issue, though. One Man Army's a bit on the difficult side. Don't get us wrong. We love to match wits against the computer as much as the next red blooded gamer, but it's a stacked deck. A gradual and smoother climb would've been more ideal.
Factor in the lack of universal support, and One Man Army just comes up woefully short. Dig a bit, and you'll find a decent game worth a few hours of your time, but that's the best it has to offer. Cool concept, no question. Just needed more.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later.
What's Hot: Interesting concept that mostly works, 36 levels, $0.99.
What's Not: Boring visuals, no universal support, a bit hard early on, aiming difficulties, lackluster sound.