Lock 'n' Load
Monsters just moved into the neighborhood. Be sure to give them a warm, bullet-spewing welcome.
Horror icon Jason Voorhees chased after victims clad in his trademark hockey mask while at the same time giving an untold number of moviegoers nightmares. Then, the tables were somewhat turned in Namco Bandai's Splatterhouse series, a collection of games that let players guide a hockey mask-wearing hero through environments full of monsters. Now said mask returns once again, this time covering the face of a no-nonsense tough guy in Chillingo and Gamelab's twin stick shooter, Lock 'n' Load, a game full of cornball antics, creatures and weapons to kill them with.
As the story goes, some annoying and evil girl has unleashed an army of creeps upon the land, and the clearly perturbed protagonist sets off to crush both her and those evil minions with a small arsenal of deadly toys, including a chainsaw, machine gun with infinite ammo, shotgun and other death-dealing devices.
What ensues is a bloody good time through a dark fantasy world filled with crow-firing scarecrows, machete-wielding goons and 30 additional enemy types. You basically plow through each Halloween-style environment shredding baddies with gunfire while picking up cash littered around the environments. Then, you can redeem this loot for weapons and new suits to wear.
Meanwhile, the "hero" spouts a series of amusing one-liners as he goes on this killing spree. These lines have a tendency to repeat, but for the most part, add humor to the story. You may even recognize quotes from classic action films, depending on how big a movie buff you are.
While on the subject of dialogue, the game's story is largely forgettable, and cut scenes tend to drag on far too long. What's more, that aforementioned diabolical girl gets on our nerves, mostly because of her irritating voice. Most times, we just skip the narrative and get on with the killing.
That said, the game is a bit tougher than it should be due to imprecise aiming controls. It takes a while to get the hang of shooting. More often than not, we have to waste precious shotgun ammo until finally hitting the intended targets.
For the most part, though, Lock 'n' Load provides several hours of dark, twisted fun. There's also a lot bang for the proverbial buck, with 16 primary levels, another nine stages in the unlockable Call of Minions campaign and finally, six challenge maps, all for $0.99. So while it isn't the most original title on the App Store, Chillingo's blast fest definitely helps relieve some stress after a tough day at work.
[Editor's Note: Since release, Lock 'n' Load continues to crash on different iPhones and iPads. That said, a fix is on the way, and you can get the game to run by switching to Airplane Mode. We may adjust this review score following the update.]
Review code provided by Chillingo.
What's Hot: Cheesy one-liners, no-nonsense hero, sizable campaign, bonus content to spare, no shortage of monsters to blast.
What's Not: Big crashing issue, controls take some time to get used to, annoying evil girl, story is mostly forgettable.