Sep 14, 2015

No matter where we go in mobile gaming, there will always be a place for the undead.

UNKILLED highlights this, and helps underscore the civic responsibility of ridding the world of zombies.

Yes, it’s another zombie apocalypse trip, but this one puts the player in the professor’s seat as part of an elite team that takes the undead out. Completely, that is. If feels a bit like Dead Trigger, which isn’t too unexpected, given its pedigree.

The primary action is gleaned first person, such that one feels like one is carrying the gun used to inflict mayhem. The controls are pretty easy to navigate: bottom left invokes movement, while the other side allows the player to pan around in place, as one would do while looking around. Used together, it is possible to effect reasonably natural movement.

To begin, the game leads the player to a waypoint, and also shows how to shoot: simply getting the crosshairs on a target initiates the auto-firing sequence. After that, it’s of to find things — zombies, really — to shoot at.


The zombies come in waves, and the basic premise is to shoot one’s way through them, and make one’s way to the level-ending location. Survive and move on, so to speak; the games inherent challenge is evident early on; navigating an urban area such as a virtualized New York City can be tough, what with tall buildings to peek around and tunnels to explore. Zombie hordes get more conniving, and there are even boss creatures to contend with. The developer adds in some other features, like a distance shooting challenge, and the quick transitions and vivid cutscenes help make the game feel less formulaic. The directions are clear, and the use of boosts (such as invulnerability, healing, multi-kills, etc.) works well.

The game awards cash for success, and this can be used to upgrade stuff. Real cash can be used to expedite the pace of improvements, but isn’t entirely necessary.

There is a little bit of gore, and there is the occasional salty word, but outside that, it is a nice looking game with a tested theme.

Dead Trigger 2 Now on Android: Video of the Day

Dead Trigger 2 Now on Android: Video of the Day

Oct 28, 2013

Dead Trigger 2 is out now on Android from Madfinger Games, and it brings with it plenty more zombies, new missions, and a new game structure.

While there’s still plenty of generic missions to do of various types, there’s now narrative-driven missions that mostly involve the objectives done in other missions, but they go a long way toward making the game feel more involving and fun. As well, upgrades are all done through various characters in the menu system, which is a running theme through this game: it’s meant to feel better. That extends to the controls as well.

The touchscreen controls have been made to be more accurate than ever, showing a lot of work has gone into the feel of them. Through a helping of auto-aim and what I can imagine was only endless amounts of tweaking, this might be the best-feeling first-person shooter on touchscreens yet. Of course gamepads are still supported – this is a Madfinger game after all.

We’ll have a full review shortly, but until then, check out video of the game and download it from Google Play.

Dead Trigger 2 Release Date Is Announced

Dead Trigger 2 Release Date Is Announced

Sep 20, 2013


Dead Trigger 2, which is a successor to a famous zombie-murdering action, now has a firm release date, and is going to hit virtual shelves on the 23rd of October of this year. It’s promising to deliver pretty much, more of the same, but better, and will be available for download on Google Play. So far, though, there are only a couple of screenshots and a trailer available.

SHADOWGUN: DeadZone Updated with New Maps, Weapons and More

SHADOWGUN: DeadZone Updated with New Maps, Weapons and More

Apr 10, 2013

The SHADOWGUN: DeadZone 2.0 update released last week adding new maps, weapons and additional game content. The publisher, MADFINGER, listened closely to the words of their fans to provide these changes. This also includes a new feature that allows friends to invite each other to Zone Control mode and monitor each other’s stats. Additionally, the update adds new boosters to the gameplay by enhancing the players Speed, Armor, Damage and Accuracy, along with an Invisibility booster.

Dead Trigger Review

Dead Trigger Review

Aug 1, 2012

Dead Trigger is Madfinger’s first entry into the first-person shooter market – though, yeah, yeah, Shadowgun was a third-person shooter, same difference. Much like how Shadowgun draws inspiration from Gears of War and other cover shooters, Dead Trigger feels inspired by Call of Duty’s Zombies mode, along with Left 4 Dead. The player loads up for bear, and uses their armament to take out endless waves of zombies. Some missions involve killing a number of zombies, or surviving for a certain amount of time, or collecting a variable number of MacGuffins to complete the mission. In general, the rule is: the zombies have to die before the player, or whatever they’re protecting, does.

While there was a controversy that flared up after the game went to be entirely free-to-play, it is obvious that the game was intended to be ready for such a shift. In particular, the game likes to recommend weapons that are available just out of the player’s reach, some of which are much easier to obtain once money has been spent on in-app purchases. Now, I will say that the lowest level IAP are a good value: 200 gold for $0.99 buys a good weapon early on along with an upgrade, and $0.99 for 40,000 Dead Dollars (that’s not the actual name of the currency, but it’s what I’m calling it) is a fine chunk of change to do some damage with. So, while free players may find the progression curve of the game somewhat difficult, even tossing just a dollar or two in helps out.

The game looks absolutely amazing on a Tegra 3 device; lighting is in full effect, there’s additional graphical details, and it just looks all kinds of wonderful Madfinger know how to make a shiny-looking game. The visceral joy of watching zombies get blown up into tiny chunks, especially with a powerful shotgun, is an allure too powerful to resist.

However, like the Call of Duty Zombies that Dead Trigger takes inspiration from, the game can become tedious. A zombie is a zombie, no matter how many little variations there are, they still are mindless sauntering beasts, wandering around for brains because they have none. It’s just repetitive going after the same types of enemies over and over again, except some are slightly faster and some spit, yadda yadda yadda. At least the levels are small enough, and the goals simple enough, to where it becomes a quick experience. I grew bored of Call of Duty Zombies on the console because sessions lasted too long – this is less involved, yet more interesting.

While the game’s going to have more mileage for players who don’t mind spending money in free to play games, and aren’t sick of the zombie craze yet, there is definitely some enjoyment to be had here.

N.O.V.A. 3 and Why the OUYA Could Be a Natural Fit With Mobile Gaming

N.O.V.A. 3 and Why the OUYA Could Be a Natural Fit With Mobile Gaming

Jul 17, 2012

While playing N.O.V.A. 3 on Android, I came to a realization: there’s a reason why the OUYA has appeal – it’s for games like this, console-style games that find a home on mobile and wind up thriving. Hey, there’s a reason why Gameloft keeps releasing these games. There is clearly continued interest in them, and the distribution model of mobile platforms like Android makes it possible for these games to have a home outside of the traditional console market. Now that console-style Android hardware is on the horizon with the OUYA, these games and those players that crave them may have a proper home.

While we’re on the subject, here’s a quick rundown of N.O.V.A. 3 for Android: it’s content-identical to the iOS version, which I reviewed in depth on 148Apps. The multiplayer is cross-platform, and logging in with the same Gameloft Live account carries over stats between versions. Only play this on very recent hardware, though: the Tegra2-powered Motorola Xoom had a choppy framerate with the game. It desperately needs the ability to drop graphical quality. Otherwise, it’s a well-made yet derivative FPS.

The dirty little secret about a lot of mobile games is this: they’re being made by devleopers who are traditional gamers, familiar with the PC and console games, and they are making those kinds of games on platforms that are open to them. Gameloft does it on a large scale, but so does Madfinger Games with titles like Shadowgun and Dead Trigger.

For N.O.V.A. 3 and similar titles, having a controller will make these games play a lot better, because they’re basically console titles crammed on to a touch screen. Many other games may work well on touchscreens with limited virtual buttons, such as many endless runners, but those would adapt well to having buttons. The only games that would have issues are ones that require tapping on specific on-screen elements, and they’re ones that the trackpad on the controller might not necessarily solve. But I don’t believe they are the target market for titles on OUYA. Combining the benefits of a console with the advantages of the open market could be extremely beneficial to some games.

Yes, content is still a big concern for OUYA, but consider this: Unity could be a killer development app for the OUYA. Unity’s strength is to allow developers to build graphically-demanding 3D games that can run on many platforms, and it’s why whenever I talked to developers at GDC 2012 working on three-dimensional games, their answer seemed to be that they were building in Unity. Also, don’t forget that many iOS-only developers work in Unity due to benefits like the ability to rapidly prototype games that can then be built into final products in the same development software. Having a game-centric platform to target could be appealing for many developers.

Are there still plenty of doubts to be had with the OUYA? Yes. Content will be a concern, but I imagine getting major Android releases on the OUYA will not be a significant issue. There’s at least a major batch of early adopters who are intrigued by the ideas, and anecdotally, I’ve talked to independent developers who are intrigued by OUYA’s possibilities for a variety of games. It seems as if the most vocal skepticism so far is coming from gaming media and some industry investors (Kevin Dent has been vocal against the OUYA so far on his Twitter account). Skepticism should be warranted with such a project, but one only needs to look at mobile gaming in general to see the possibilities that it provides.

Madfinger Games Announces Their New Visually-Stunning Shooter, Dead Trigger

Madfinger Games Announces Their New Visually-Stunning Shooter, Dead Trigger

Jun 4, 2012

While the world still waits to start playing Shadowgun against each other, Madfinger Games have announced their newest title: Dead Trigger, a zombie shooter. Yes, now zombies, the cultural topic du jour that’s even finding its way into the news, is being tackled by Madfinger. Players will have to try and ward off the undead with a variety of firepower. It appears there will be both areas that the player can roam around to try and fend off zombies in, as well as barriers that the zombies will try to get past that the player must try to hold down. Unlike Shadowgun, this is an actual first-person shooter, not a Gears of War-esque third-person shooter.

The game is coming later this month to both iOS and Android, and Tegra 3 devices will get a special graphical boost, as evidenced in the trailer below. There’s enhanced lighting to go along with the additional level elements, like puddles in certain areas. A lot is still unknown about Dead Trigger, but with the game releasing soon, all should be revealed before long.

New Shadowgun: Deadzone Details Revealed from Madfinger Games

New Shadowgun: Deadzone Details Revealed from Madfinger Games

Feb 7, 2012

Madfinger Games are hard at work on expanding the Shadowgun game experience from a singleplayer one to a multiplayer one, with the upcoming Shadowgun: Deadzone. I recently chatted with Madfinger’s Marek Rabas about the game, and got some new details about the upcoming shooter.

First off, Android owners will be glad to know that despite previous reports, the game will not be exclusive to Tegra 3 devices, although they will get to play in an exclusive open beta prior to the game’s official release. The game will be coming to Android first, though, with an iOS release later on.

The game will be to free-to-play. One of the main reasons for doing this was to ensure a bigger user base than if they just released it as an update to the main Shadowgun game. As well, this allows them to do testing on just the multiplayer portion of the game, and to manage the size of the two apps separately.

The exact details of what in-app purchases in Shadowgun: Deadzone will entail is not set in stone yet. The idea is that there will be items for defense, attack, and powerups, but Madfinger wants to keep the game from becoming one where players can just buy their way into being the most powerful player; some items will require players to be of a certain rank in order to unlock before buying. These items will also hopefully help players accentuate the play style of their choice.

As far as gameplay modes are concerned, there will be three main modes at launch: standard free for all and team deathmatch modes, along with an objective-based mode that involves controlling certain points on a map, like the Conquest mode of Battlefield, or Call of Duty’s Domination mode. Marek Rabas commented that the mode will be similar to something seen in a game he previously worked on for PC: Hidden and Dangerous 2.

The game will be flexible, supporting up to 8 players, but will also feature maps for 2 and 4 player play as well. Cross-platform multiplayer is a goal that Madfinger are trying to achieve with Deadzone, specifically the idea of servers specifically meant for iOS versus Android play. The player characters will be customizable, with 8 base character models, although it will not be extremely extensive customization-wise due to the limited hardware of mobile devices.

The game is still deep in the middle of development with many details not set in stone, but more details should be coming to light in the next few months.