Yup. This is Afterpulse, a third person, free to play multiplayer shooter for iPad and iPhone. It's super polished, has lots of special guns in it, and I am absolutely smitten with it.
Wait? What? Even after all those things you just said?
I know. Trust me, I know. Afterpulse has no right to be as good as it is. It should be a floaty mess, it should fit into the same also-ran category as almost every shooter that's ever appeared on a touchscreen device. But it's just so much fun.Fun? Okay, break it down for me
Break it down? What is this an '80s teen movie? But fine. The joy of Afterpulse stems from its simplicity. It's all about frantic, tightly packed deathmatches. And they're so good.
Just deathmatches? No story?
Nope, no story. There are two game modes, training and multiplayer. You need to play through a bunch of training before the game lets you online, but it's basically just the multiplayer game with bots replacing angry humans.
Okay, doesn't sound like much content
That's true, there's not a whole heap here. Online you can play team deathmatch or every man for himself. You gain levels as you play, and can spend in-game currencies on shiny new weapons. There are challenges to complete as well, with big rewards for doing just that.
How does it control? There must be something wrong with it there
Actually, no. The controls aren't joypad-sharp, but they work really well. Again it's down to the simplicity. You've got a stick to control movement, you swipe to look around, and tap a button to fire. There's a decent snap-to when you start blasting, so accuracy isn't super important.
Can I throw grenades at my enemies?
In the game, yes. Best not to in real life. You unlock new gadgets as you go. They're accessed by another button. So that's two buttons and a stick. And it works. There's no jumping or darting into cover, just short sharp firefights.
Let me guess, the maps are all post-industrial wastes
Smarty pants. Yes they are. You're dodging between crates, darting across train tracks, and in one particularly brilliant level shooting your way through the hold of a downed cargo plane. It's all browns and greys, but lovely looking browns and greys.
There are technical difficulties, though. There are always technical difficulties
There are a few. I've had some crashes, been kicked out of matches, and suffered some life-ending chug. But games only last four minutes, and it always remembers my XP progress. You need to have an internet connection to play though, even in offline mode.
And this is where you tell me about the energy system
Well, yes and no. There is an energy system, but it's only for offline matches. You can play online as much as you like. Nearly. Your guns need maintenance, which costs some in-game cash and time.
Okay. You're going to recommend this aren't you?
I am. I've spent the whole day playing it and I really just want to go and play it some more. There are problems, mainly the fact that you can't team up with friends to play, but if that's added, you can add another point to the score.
A good shooty bang bang game on iOS?
I know, what a time to be alive.