Trying to figure out everything in Captain Strike is a bit like being asked for a secret password to get into a special club. The promise of something enjoyable is within reach, apparently, but only to those in the know.
A free-to-play online-only third-person shooter that allows iOS and Android players to shoot one another, Captain Strike is, as you'd rightly imagine, all about running, gunning, and grinding towards increasingly useful gear with which to repeat the endless cycle.
A very brief tutorial ensures that you know enough about the controls that you'll have a chance against other players, before you're tasked with heading off into one of nine arenas to go and shoot some strangers. No story, no context - just, "here's a gun, good luck".
Stick to your guns
From there, things are fairly standard. Kill an opponent and an on-screen Call of Duty-esque pop-up will display, showing how many experience points your act of violence just earned you.
The usual bonuses are acquired for performing minor feats, such as racking up a decent killstreak, or exacting revenge on someone who shot you down earlier in a match.
By and large, the controls are just about up to the task. A left virtual stick controls movement, swiping around the screen aims, and a button to the lower-right shoots.
Where things get fiddly is when an opponent gets too close. Want to wallop someone stood in front of you? In Captain Strike you'll need to swipe an on-screen icon a couple of times, cycling from your primary weapon to your secondary shooter, before finally arriving at your melee option -assuming you survive that long, of course.
Lone wolves can jump straight in to free-for-all bouts against up to nine other players. Team battles are also available, where you can even set up clans, should that tickle your pickle.Jump the gun
For those who are feeling really confident, though, there's the option of betting some of your hard-earned in-game gold against your performance, with kills here netting you precious gold on top of your experience points. Or, at least, that's how it works as far as I can tell.
It's with this gold that you're able to buy a plethora of goodies, from superior weapons (all of which appear to be level-locked for fairness) to cosmetic upgrades, which is essential should you wish your avatar to not look like a bemused Daniel Craig impersonator.
Annoyingly (and you may notice a pattern emerging), there's no real way of knowing what benefits these items might bestow. Yes, there are small icons with numbers next to them, but no explanation to go with them.Son of a gun
Likewise, there seems to be a menu-based crafting system in the game, but how this works is anyone's guess.
All-in-all, Captain Strike is a bit like its graphics - in no way noteworthy, but good enough. Its audio design is wisely minimal during gameplay, with positional audio giving anyone wearing headphones decent warning when their foes are nearby.
But for groups of friends with differing tastes in devices and a willingness to give a free game a shot, that could be the deal-maker in an otherwise tepid blend of predictable genre tropes.