(Editor’s Note: What follows is the original review written for the first version the author played. Since then, one or more major critiques have been addressed by the developer. For a list of these, see “Addendums” below the original review score at the end of the article.)
I feel for Emotional Robots, I really do. This modestly manned indie studio could easily have played it safe and debuted on the App Store with a simplistic doodle game or cutesy endless runner, but instead they set their sights considerably higher for Warm Gun (out now, $4.99). Unfortunately though, this much-vaunted Unreal Engine-powered shooter quickly betrays its developer’s lack of experience with iOS and comes off as more than a little half-baked.
Still, you can’t fault Emotional Robots’ ambition; multiplayer frag-fests starring a freakish roster of warriors and set against the backdrop of a war-scorched neo-Wild West do sound incredibly cool, right? Yup, that’s as may be, but unwieldy controls, game-breakingly horrendous lag – both online and offline – and frequent freezes and crashes render this title practically unplayable.
I dove into Warm Gun’s offline mode first – which sees you battling AI controlled bots and acts as a training ground for you to test out the different character classes and their personalized weaponry. Again, it sounds a heck of a lot more fun in theory than it actually is to play through. Brain-dead enemy AI and straightforward deathmatch-style gameplay means the only real challenge on offer here is wrestling with a selection of ill thought-out control schemes. If nothing else, I guess this mode is a decent enough showcase for the game’s vaguely impressive graphics and commendably intricate and detailed environments.
The online side of things fares even less well. For starters, you’ll need to go to the trouble of registering a Gamespy account before you can play (be warned: doing so seems to cause the game to crash for some reason). And then once you do finally get online, you’re just as likely to be dodging tumbleweeds as you are other gamer’s bullets because Warm Gun’s servers are depressingly devoid of human players at this point. Ho-hum. Now, the game does shloop back in bots to replace missing flesh and blood gamers, but you may as well stick with the offline mode if all you’re going to be doing is slaughtering mindless, computer-controlled opponents, dontcha think?
An epic disappointment; Warm Gun is impossible to recommend in its current state. In hindsight, perhaps Emotional Robots cutting their teeth on something less taxing like a doodle game wouldn’t have been such a bad idea after all.
iFanzine Verdict: Gah! There just might be a fun FPS buried somewhere beneath Warm Gun’s multitude of shortcomings, but until Emotional Robots show the game some update love, you’d be well advised to give it a wide berth.
Addendum: Updated to improve performance, enemy AI and controls.