Dual-stick shooters are tough to do well. I’m still not sure the Apple touch screens are quite responsive enough for the fine degree of control that a good action game requires, but I’ve been intrigued with all the attempts and variations we’re seeing in the app store. In the hands of a skilled developer, the format has a lot of potential. (In any case, we shouldn’t be categorizing games by control schemes. We don’t call PC games “mouse-and-keyboard shooters.” )
Thus far, I’d have to say Revolt comes closest to making a top-down shooter that transcends the limitations of the app format. This is good design, with plenty of features and a lot of room for expansion.
There’s a premise and even a stab at a narrative threaded throughout the entire game: something about a resistance fighter name Guy who needs to shoot robot hordes repeatedly in the face until they explode. I really wasn’t following it very much, because I mostly like the parts where things go boom.
And Revolt does a pretty good job of going boom. You begin the game with a rifle, pistol and a couple of kinds of grenades. From these little acorns mighty oaks of chaos shall bloom, as you gather scrap metal in order to purchase more and better weapons. Once you gather enough scratch, you can purchase a rocket launcher and a heavy machine gun, as well as well as weapons and armor upgrades.
The levels themselves a little mazey, but they suit the game well enough. Graphics are top notch, particularly for an indie project, with fluid animation and some good lighting effects. These aren’t levels bathed in darkness, like Aftermath: they’re detailed and look good, with plenty of tactical environmental elements (that’s a fancy way of saying “barrels that blows up real good”) scattered about.
Revolt mostly nails the control scheme. I still find the dual-stick a bit sluggish and imprecise, but the aiming system is forgiving and it doesn’t effect the gameplay. A roll button is also on the screen, allowing a defensive roll that allows you to bypass energy barriers and remain impervious attack for a second. The only iffy part is the grenade control, which is in the upper right corner and a bit out of the way.
The main games links 8 “story” levels together in a touching narrative about a guy shooting barrels and robots. Another 20 arena levels are also included.
I get the feeling this isn’t the last we’re going to hear of Revolt. This looks like a game that has legs, and there is plenty of room for expanded content, with more weapons, enemies, and levels, as well as maybe multiplayer.