Wayyyyy back when I was young and malleable, I was pretty darn good at playing First Person Shooter (FPS) games with my keyboard.
Those out there around my age who are willing to admit it will no doubt remember the Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake series that emerged from the minds of those behind the ‘id Software’ company. I spent the better part of my weekends getting to a computer and playing Doom 2 and Quake until I felt downright dizzy. Yes, I was going places.
It took a while to get used to a keyboard after my years of Donkey Kong and Pac-Man, not to mention that heinous E.T. game created for the Atari system (yes folks, Atari), but boy was I skilled after a while. I breezed through Quake and got others hooked on it. I was all that and a bag o’ chips. Then Xbox came along.
The first game I tried on Xbox was Doom 3. Finally! Another chapter in my favorite series. I couldn’t wait to get to it! Surely moving to a joystick controller after all these years couldn’t be that difficult?
Well, I was pitiful, to say the very least. The first baddie I came across had me frantically pointing my gun at the ceiling and shooting away as I quickly got pulverized. I meant to look down but I kept looking up; or I’d mean to crouch and end up jumping instead. It was a bit of a learning curve, but I finally got the hang of it.
Now I’m on another learning curve – using an iPad’s controls for games. I recently gave the “Does not commute” app a try, which requires directing a car down roads. I was absolutely useless at it. Honestly, I couldn’t get the vehicle to move beyond its driveway without ploughing it into a hedge.
Perhaps I should return to the more familiar, so I downloaded the much lauded ‘Xenowerk’ app – a well designed, high action FPS game – in the hope of recapturing my former gaming glory.
How it works
There is no tutorial for this app. It assumes that either you have used something similar previously, or that you will pick it up as you go.
It starts by giving you a bit of the story. It’s the usual kind of scenario: something’s gone horribly wrong; monsters have been created; it’s your job to take them out.
In the top right hand corner you’ll see an “R” in a circle with a “0” beside it. That means that at the beginning, you have no purchasing power. Therefore, when the game instructs you to choose your primary and secondary weapons, you can only tap on those that are free. Same with the body armor.
Once you’re suited up and armed, it’s time to play! You’re in the first of many rooms, and you’ll see symbols on the screen indicating how to move (on the left) and aim and fire (on the right).
By the time you make it through the first two sets of doors, you’ll be faced with your first beasties, and you need to have quick reflexes as you try to gather coins at the same time to buy better weapons and stronger armor.
At any time you can tap on the pause symbol near the bottom left, which will show you a map of the level and your location in it. You can also tap on the coins in the top right in this screen, which takes you to the store, allowing you to buy a small, medium or large “salary advance” with real money as an in-app purchase. This will enable you to quickly increase your arsenal and types of armor.
When you go back to game play, look out for arrows directing you to your next task. You can also switch between your primary and secondary weapons when you need to.
Change the settings by tapping on the cog icon. Here you can adjust the SFX and music volume and the controls; check your achievements status (which requires the Internet); change the language (there are 10 options); and reset your profile if you’d rather erase your dismal performance and start from the beginning.
When I played it
It didn’t take long for me to be thrown back to my early Xbox experiences. I got my character (female, I might add) to move forward after throwing her into a few walls for good measure, but the moment a creature appeared, I put her into a tailspin of random shooting which did her no favors whatsoever. A few seconds later, she had hit the deck, and I had to restart. She’d probably only walked about 100 feet. Not a good start.
I considered going back to buy a large salary advance so I could upgrade her armor. After all, it wasn’t her fault that her fate was in the hands of an incapable idiot. I was dazzled by the options, and it only cost $3.99 for 100,000 coins – enough to buy her “Heavy Armor” and some high-end machinery. I stopped short, however. I needed to improve my skills, not wuss out by taking the easy route.
Around the fifth attempt, I managed to bring down two beasts, but then I couldn’t find my way out of the room. Clearly this was going to take some perseverance …
The ‘Xenowerk’ app offers great game play, graphics and options for the money. I have not listed all of the features in this story, as there are just too many; therefore, it is pretty amazing that this app is only $1.99 in the App Store! The in-app purchases aren’t badly priced (the most expensive is $3.99 for a mess o’ coins) and considering how well designed this game is, and what you get for less than two bucks, you should be running to download it if you are a fan of FPS games.
Highly recommend it.
Cons: May make you feel old when you long for a joystick.
- Cost: $1.99
- Seller: Pixelbite
- Devices: Android and iOS
- Rating: T for Teen
- Three and a half stars