The latest installation from Reliance Games (in a rare break from their movie-to-game adaptations) is a top down shooter that plays rather nicely on my Nexus 7 tablet. You pilot a first-person drone equipped with various weapons in order to take out hostile targets to achieve mission objectives. These range from defending your units against waves of foes, to hunting and eliminating a specific VIP target. After spending some time with the game, here’s my initial feedback:

Easy To Get Into

Personally, when I play mobile games I’m looking for something I can jump into and out of relatively easily. Drone: Shadow Strike starts off great, launching you directly into the first mission upon boot up. See those red circles below you? Enemies. See those buttons on the right? Weapons. Select one and have at it. The big red “Fire” button is a ringer for what you should do next.

Drone Shadow Strike 2

The controls and UI are really intuitive. Enemies on the screen are highlighted in red and enemies off screen are represented by red dots on the sides of the screen (shown above). Having a fixed crosshair in the middle of the screen makes dragging the camera around feel easy and natural and lends itself to work on many different screen sizes, from phone to tablet.

Challenging, But Not Heartwrenching

As the missions progress, they naturally get harder. This can mean you have to destroy X number of enemies before they escape the map, but SURPRISE: they’re pretty quick. Or the enemies wise up and start firing rockets at you, requiring you tap on them to shoot flares to protect yourself while simultaneously firing to eliminating the ground threats. Even if you fail, you get some light rewards to try to upgrade your equipment and try again.

Regardless of the mission there are also extra “challenges” you can do to unlock extra rewards. This gives each mission a certain amount of replay-ability to try to 100% complete them. Which helps, since the game is very linear and, in the amount that I played, only unlocked one mission at a time.

Light Customization

Drone Shadow Strike 4

The point of completing missions with as many challenges as you can is the amount of rewards (in game money) that you get. These can be used to upgrade your drone with more armor, better radar, or give your weapons some more firepower. There’s nothing too groundbreaking here, as it’s what you’d expect from any mission-based shooter, but it does give you something to strive for if just progressing through the levels isn’t enough. If you get tired of losing, you can always spend money in the market to buy “gold”, which can translate into in-game money for upgrades galore.

Free To Play Means Free To Play

“Free to Play” in regards to mobile games usually evokes grimaces from those familiar, for they quickly become what is known as the “Freemium” model for games. Not familiar with the term? Let the guys at South Park summarize it for you. One of the first things that I noticed about Drone: Shadow Strike is that, while there are in-app purchases, they are not required to enjoy the game. They just accelerate your progress through the 20+ missions, which is completely unnecessary to enjoy your experience. I think it’s better to gain rewards at the normal rate in order to maximize your play time with what turned out to be a really enjoyable game.

Overall I’d swipe right on this game.

 

Download the game here:

App Store: http://bit.ly/ShadowStrike

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.reliancegames.drones