So what's all this then?

This is Max Ammo, a third-person action shooter that's free to play. And you know what, it's actually really good. To the point where I'm considering spending some money on IAPs. I might have a real problem.

A third-person shooter on mobile? Bleurgh

Well, yeah, that's what I thought too. But this one is worth giving a chance. It doesn't just try and cram a console-style control system onto your screen - this is a game that's been designed from the ground up for tablets and phones.

Okay. Go on

Thanks, I will. Everything is swipes and taps. Tap on enemies to shoot them, swipe to dart between different chest high walls for cover. The missions don't last more than a minute, and while they do get a bit repetitive they're full of gorgeous action.

Gorgeous? So it looks good?

Yes. Yes it does. It's got a nice chunky aesthetic, all podgy cartoon characters, cyber raptors, and gun emplacements. The explosions are great too, and the lead character has a wonderful moustache. Who doesn't like a lead character with a moustache?

Fair point. There's a story then?

There are quite a few different modes, but they're all focused on the short-stab levels. There's a campaign, raids, challenges, and a multiplayer leaderboard-climbing mode that sees you trying to beat other player's times.

Beat their times?

That's what I said. You'll realise as you're playing that there's a real beat to the experience, and finding the quickest combination of movements and shots is key to success. And on the multiplayer side of things you're playing against a ghost of another player's runs.

That sounds sort of fun

I know, right? And it is. I've sworn at my iPad multiple times when I've been beaten to the finish line at the last second. It's a wonderfully addictive addition to proceedings, and while there is an energy system, it's not your typical energy system.

Energy system? Bleurgh

Well, yes. But it's not as bad as it sounds. Rather than running out of energy, here you're using tokens to get into matches. You can use them for raids as well as multiplayer. And you earn them back by playing. I've bashed through a good few hours without having to reach for my digital wallet.

Hmmmmm, what other free to play shenanigans are going on?

There are wait timers for building new weapons, and things get tougher in the campaign quicker than you can earn new weapons and armour. But there's always something to do, and since everything is basically the same, you're always having the same amount of fun. If that makes sense.

Right, shall we wrap this up?

I think that's wise. Max Ammo is definitely better than it has any right to be. It's solid and dependable, and a ridiculous amount of fun. Longevity-wise, you might find yourself getting tired of it after a few days, but they'll be a really good few days.

You'd recommend it then?

I would. And I think I have. This is a thick nugget of third-person action, and it's worth checking out for the slick controls alone.