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.

Dead Trigger Going Free, and the Realities of the App Economy

Dead Trigger Going Free, and the Realities of the App Economy

Jul 24, 2012

File this one under “Seriously, Android gamers?” There’s an outrage – if it can be called that – over the new game from Madfinger, Dead Trigger, having dropped from $0.99 to free. Nothing in the game itself has actually changed, with it being supported by in-app purchases, and it’s still $0.99 on iOS, it’s just free to download now. People are apparently hopping mad about this switch, enough so that Madfinger felt compelled to comment on it on their Facebook page.

Now, I will admit that no one likes having something they spent money for being devalued. That’s a hypothetically fair position. However, we are talking about $0.99, not a $59.99 game, or even a case of something like Band Together on iOS which launched at $4.99 and went free days later. Seriously. As well, Madfinger did this because the piracy rates are reportedly “unbelievably high.” So, if people want the game for free, Madfinger’s giving it to them, with the hope that the tradeoff between giving it away (and making it possible to get in-app purchases) will wind up working out for them. Whether or not piracy is the sole excuse, this shift is happening, and the $0.99 price was a perfect setup for this.

There’s a reason why this kind of shift is happening – it’s because of the fact that there are people so cheap that they would do anything to avoid even paying $0.99 for a game. The excuses for piracy in other media segments, like the music and movie industries which many people feel are corrupt at least hold some value in a Robin Hood sense, if Robin Hood was about getting free music instead of giving to the poor. But this is essentially depriving an independent business of a handful of coins instead of paying.

This refusal to pay for apps – by piracy or just a love of free things – has been an economy created by the actions of consumers. While some individuals may feel slighted by it, we’re all affected by it. At worst, we get to figure out if we would enjoy experiences by paying nothing before the game suggests handing over money, and Madfinger are quick to point out that Dead Trigger is desinged to be free-to-play, not “freemium” where a paywall (actual or practical) hinders progress, and that even they on the team play without IAP. Still, it’s there, and on Android, it’s going to be how they make their money off of their game. Indie developers may make games for many reasons, but they’re still businesses. They still have to find ways to bring home the bacon, and the market is forcing developers to get creative, and sometimes do things out of self-interest like this.

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.

Shadowgun’s Multiplayer Mode to Only Come to Tegra 3 Devices, Excluding Most Current Shadowgun Players

Shadowgun’s Multiplayer Mode to Only Come to Tegra 3 Devices, Excluding Most Current Shadowgun Players

Jan 10, 2012

Shadowgun finally reached Tegra 2 and up devices late last year after its initial iOS release. Madfinger Games, the developer of the Gears of War-inspired third-person shooter where cover plays an important role, has mentioned bringing multiplayer at some point to the game, and it appears as if it will be coming, just not as an update to the game as expected. The multiplayer Shadowgun will be a separate release for Android, entitled Shadowgun: Deadzone. It will include 8 characters, 4 levels, and several game modes including the standard standbys deathmatch and team deathmatch.

The downside to this announcement for pretty much literally all current Shadowgun players? The game will be a Tegra 3 exclusive. The only Tegra 3 device currently available is the Asus Transformer Prime, so pretty much anyone who has played the original single-player game on Android won’t be able to play it on their current devices. More Tegra 3 devices will be announced at CES, so new Android users will get to enjoy the cover-based shooting.

Source: Android Police