Sid Tripp is a man out for revenge in this mildly entertaining but unremarkable shooter.
Ayopa Games and Lab Rats Studio's third person shooter, M.U.S.E., currently has 22 user reviews on the App Store, all of which carry the best possible score, five out of five.
To read them, you'd think it's the greatest title since Angry Birds.
"...the future of apple games..."
"Awesome all around..."
What? Are we playing the same game?
To be fair, M.U.S.E. is semi decent. You play as stereotypical action hero Sid Tripp (what?), who charges through a decimated city chasing after some floating nut job called Psychosis, clearly inspired by Psycho Mantis from Metal Gear Solid; Psychosis was also the name of a real life Mexican Luchador, FYI.
OK, the story's a waste. You don't need to care about Tripp's dead family or the exploits of the cyborg army you're about to slaughter. Just grab an M16 and come out firing.
A few things impress us. Glass shatters, which is something we don't often see in iOS games. There's also a decent amount of destruction, as you not only blow up cars, but also explosive barrels the developers dropped all over the place.
In addition, the game has a neat scoring mechanic, where points earned from causing mayhem get translated to currency that goes towards upgrading Tripp and his weapons, increasing such things as health, speed, damage and clip size. Naturally, there's an in-app purchase available, just in case you prefer easier means of growing Tripp's bank account.
What's more, the visuals do the job, with detailed enemies and buildings. That said, don't go into the experience expecting the benchmark in iOS graphics. They're OK.
Gameplay wise, M.U.S.E. is quite unremarkable. Enemies have two moves, shooting and then hiding behind cover, moving in predictable lines that make them seem more comical than anything else.
On top of that, utilizing cover doesn't necessarily guarantee protection, as we took damage despite resting behind an object the developers suggested we use.
Shooting is enjoyable, since there's a wealth of ammo (but not enough health) scattered throughout the environment, though we were a bit disappointed that shooting through glass doesn't result in a cyborg taking damage. Instead, it functions as breakable cover.
What really bugs us, though, is how artificial the entire game feels, as if an amateur player with little experience gained access to a level editor and just dropped cars and bullets everywhere. There's no believability. It's more or less a set piece, and not a realistic city.
Battles, meanwhile, play out the same exact ways. You just move to different areas waiting for enemies to appear or a force field to pop up that won't go away unless you clear that portion of the game.
As for Tripp's rolling ability, we found the button to be awkwardly placed and didn't use it much, instead opting for hiding behind cover and then peeking out to take down evildoers.
Finally, the upgrade screen gives the word "ugly" a whole new meaning. It's hideous. Not only what, but there's so much lost potential. Give us new weapons to unlock, armor and other fun stuff.
All told, we don't hate M.U.S.E. We just grew bored. Bottom line, other iPhone and iPad shooters do it better, and we suggest spending your $5.99 elsewhere.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 4.2 or later.
What's Hot: Mowing down fools with an M16, breakable glass, plenty of explosions, cool points system.
What's Not: Disappointing upgrades, not enough weapons, unimportant story, Psychosis, action gets boring quickly.