Zynga declares war.
Zynga's caught some flack for blatantly copying other games, and its newest iOS release, Respawnables, probably won't do much to change that. This free-to-play third-person shooter appears to take a page or two from the likes of Battlefield Heroes and Team Fortress 2, with easily accessible controls, speedy matches and cartoon-style graphics. Not exactly the most original game, but it's unlike anything we've seen for iPhone and iPad. Rough around the edges, but we can't put it down.
On that note, Respawnables was divided into two components, single-player and multiplayer. The solo campaign throws you into brief deathmatches against computer-controlled opponents. While not the smartest adversaries, these bullet sponges serve the important purpose of letting you hone your skills, leveling up the gun-toting warrior while earning virtual currency along the way. The developers at Digital Legends Entertainment even peppered the game with a variety of missions that give you something to strive for, from killing a set number of baddies to traveling a specific distance.
Then, when you're ready to hunt the most dangerous game, head into multiplayer, which features both Free For All and Team Vs. modes. It takes a little while to connect, but once you join a match, the action is both frantic and lag free for the most part. On top of that, most players' resistance to making in-app purchases for the expensive weapons and gear means there is, more often than not, a very even playing field, at least until some RPG-carrying jerk joins the fray.
While on the subject of weapons, you'll find a satisfying mix of deadly toys in the shop, including automatics, a shotgun and rocket launcher, to name a few; be sure to stock up on grenades, dynamite and landmines. On the flip side, you're free to unlock new heads, torsos and legs for your warrior, and these pieces go beyond simple aesthetics. In fact, you'll receive perks for making a switch, like increased accuracy, health and/or agility; you can also improve a character's stats, courtesy of a skill tree. Of course, you'll need thousands of virtual dollars and gold bricks to make a serious dent, but hey, that's what in-app purchases are for.
In game, Respawnables is a perfect fit for smartphones and tablets. The user-friendly touch controls make movement and shooting easy enough, and after getting killed, players only have to wait a few seconds to rejoin. It's arcade style fun with little complexity. Again, ideal for iPhone and iPad. You just run around shooting people and red barrels to make those suckers explode. No vehicles or complex modes. Just locate the enemy, open fire and move on to the next one.
All is not golden, however. Animations are a bit jerky, and because of IAP, sometimes there's a huge divide between the haves and have-nots; we also think the buttons are too close together. Those are small complaints, though, when taking into account the bigger picture. Respawnables is one of the most simplistic and brainless titles on the App Store, and we dig it for those exact reasons. For now, a great game that we hope becomes excellent over the next several months.
What's Hot: Addictive solo and online multiplayer components, 15 weapons, customizing soldiers, completing missions for rewards, simplistic controls, non-stop action, free-to-play.
What's Not: Awkward animations, IAP gives players unfair advantages, having to download additional maps.