Everybody loves light gun games. They're exhilarating virtual shooting galleries, exuberant tests of marksmanship that offer an almost uniquely close connection between player action and on-screen consequence.
And everybody knows that light gun games just aren't much fun without a light gun. Ask anyone who's ever played a console conversion of an arcade shooter without investing in some gun-shaped hardware first.
So, Mobage's free-to-play on-rails shooter Lawless has got its work cut out for it.
Thankfully, Lawless's touchscreen controls capture the thrills and immediacy of the arcade experience better than a traditional console controller ever could.
Turning the tables
Of course, Lawless is by no means the first light gun-style game to make an appearance on the App Store, although it's one of the most direct recreations of the arcade experience to date.
As such, you'll pick your avatar and then spend your time peeking out from cover and taking pot shots at your enemies before ducking back into safety.
But whereas the likes of Time Crisis and House of the Dead cast you as the good guys, Lawless has you playing as amoral career criminals, and tasks you with shooting down beat cops, SWAT operatives, and riot-shielded police.
Gunning down these goody two-shoes is simply a matter of jabbing at your display. It's an immediate and intuitive way to play, and one that allows for a pleasing sense of mastery almost from the get-go.
Fun but dumb
Since headshots in Lawless are a bit of a breeze, the game challenges you to take out your enemies quickly, and it's possible to rack up some hefty score multipliers if you can gun down police specialists extra quickly.
This sense of pace lends a certain excitement to proceedings, but Lawless is nevertheless a rather lightweight experience, and the inclusion of character and weapon-levelling systems does little to disguise the fact that you're just pushing at pixels.
But what it lacks in depth, Lawless makes up for in immediacy, visual fidelity, and good old-fashioned fun. It may not stay with you long, and it's best suited to short sessions, but Lawless is a fun ride while it lasts.