Gun Commando is a first-person shooter inspired by classic games from the 90s, most notably Wolfenstein 3D. With this in mind, you can expect a series of corridors, linear stages and 2D sprite-based enemies, with a bit of Duke Nukem attitude thrown in by hero Jack Bennett. Suffice to say, there's plenty of retro charm if you're into this sort of thing, but how does a 90s-style FPS hold up in 2013? If you grew up alongside the genre, you already know the answer.
The plot sends Bennett on a dangerous mission to kill aliens. You can forget about escorting people or performing elaborate maneuvers. Each stage tasks you with slaughtering as many E.T.'s as possible and collecting up to three golden trophies. From there, it's all about reaching the goal and plowing through the next level, rinse and repeat. Therein lies the game's limitations. Enemies and layouts change over time, but for the most part, Gun Commando lays all of its cards on the table in the first board. You kill them before they kill you, period.
Considering the game costs $0.99, the overall lack of depth isn't necessarily bad. If anything, it's ideal for smartphones and tablets, since these are the perfect devices for short play sessions. That said, tedium eventually sets it, particularly when bad guys attack in greater numbers. Sure, mowing them down makes for a fun time, but wrestling with the dual stick virtual controls and dying as a result (only to restart multiple times, of course) gets old, especially with the awkward double-tapping mechanic to slide beneath lasers, and the numerous boxes that contain nothing at all, leaving us to question why these things exist within the environment to begin with. The game's geometry is also a bit off when it comes to shooting aliens near corners, with the bullets failing to hit the intended targets, despite appearing otherwise.
As it turns out, the upgrade system is one of Gun Commando's redeeming features. Basically, shooting enemies fills a meter that, once full, allows you to access a superior weapon. Missing, conversely, prevents this from happening, so what ensues is this cool mini-game of sorts that encourages accuracy. Not revolutionary by any means, but a neat feature to have.
Throw in all the bright colors, crude-looking polygons and one-liners from wannabe Nukem, and Gun Commando is a decent throwback to a much simpler time, when all you had to worry about was killing anything that moved. Mindless fun.
What's Hot:Intriguing upgrade system, retro graphics, Duke Nukem-style hero.
What's Not:Repetitive shooting, weird collision detection near corners, wrestling with virtual controls.