tue 17/10/2017

Unkilled | reviews, news & interviews

Unkilled

Unkilled

Short bursts of fun, but playing for free is a long haul

Unkilled - a Big Bad

Zombies. Thousands of ‘em. Not just in Madfinger’s new shooter, Unkilled of course. Zombies are everywhere, swarming all over popular culture in that shuffley way of theirs. They are the new Nazis - fanatical in their onslaught and easily killed without a pang of conscience.

This is Madfinger’s third zombie game, following on from its successful Dead Trigger series. Dead Trigger 1 & 2 were also first-person shooters operating on a Free To Play model, so is Unkilled just more of the same?

UnkilledThe plot suggests so. You are a central casting Elite Military Dude (your biography says you have a philosophy degree but you don’t seem to put that into much practical use in your daily life) who is dropped into a zombie infested New York City along with some colleagues and assigned brief run and gun missions by your controller. Missions are mostly very linear and over in a few minutes if you take your time.After each one you are given a star rating and score, unlocking the next in the sequence.

Graphically, the game is colourful and well animated and the 3D is certainly up there with the best mobile gaming has to offer.

The one thing that really stands out about Unkilled is its control scheme. Touch-screen controls are tricky to get right for a first-person shooter. Last year’s The Drowning was a brave attempt to try something new that was didn’t quite work in practice and was sadly handcuffed to a shonky Zombie-killing plot with weak, in-app purchase-driven gameplay. The plot and in-app-purchase part is also true of Unkilled but thankfully it’s new control idea is brilliantly simple - auto firing guns.

You can simply use your left thumb to move forward, back and side to side and look around with your right thumb. If the crosshairs of your weapon fall on a target that you can shoot, then shoot it you will. As shooting is the only thing you want to do with a target, this makes perfect sense and helps to make Unkilled much easier to play than a lot of its rivals.

Sadly, the other thing that makes Unkilled easy to play is the deliberately forgiving free-to-play difficulty curve. I consider myself "OK" at first-person shooters. I don’t have the twitch reflexes of the best online players but I can usually nail a single-player campaign with a cautious attitude to taking damage and a good aim. Even with my meagre skills I was able to clock up three stars and maximum points on all but two levels out of the first 15 or so. The two I didn’t ace were down to my killing the horde of undead using just my gun and not needing to use rockets, which were one of the achievement milestones I needed to tick off for full marks.

UnkilledThis easy-ish ride is of course designed to lull you into playing more by dangling just the hint of a challenge in front of you. Like most free-to-play games, Unkilled would really, really like it if you paid money to play.

There is an energy-based play system that will either refill overnight or can be topped up with £££s or in-game boosts. You accrue two in-game currencies (dollars and gold) with which to buy and upgrade your weapons and equipment and - annoyingly - the game will sometimes refuse to let you continue until your weapon is "powerful enough". You have the choice of waiting for a timer to tick down as the weapon upgrades or splash some cash to get it instantly. Note that it doesn’t seem to matter exactly what kind of upgrade you get for the weapon - the delay is purely there to encourage use of the game’s economy.

You don’t, however, have to spend money. If you are prepared to grind through a few extra levels and wait until your energy bar refills then you can complete the game using the daily "treasure chest" bonuses to boost your load-out. It will take a while and you might find the process a bit less fun that you were hoping, but it could save you a packet.

@stuarthoughton

Like most free-to-play games, 'Unkilled' would really, really like it if you paid money to play

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Explore topics

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters