Published on December 7th, 2015 | by Patrick Garde0
Afterpulse is a third-person multiplayer shooter, available on iOS platforms, developed by Digital Legends Entertainment and published by GAMEVIL USA, and was originally released worldwide on the 22nd of October, 2015. This iPhone and iPad game totes having AAA console features, from gameplay to graphics, both of which I will be touching upon in this review.
First, upon loading up Afterpulse, you’ll notice the graphics straight away, and I must say they sure are something to behold. The game looks stunning on iOS devices. You’ll also notice the moment you get in game: the lighting, the detail, and the environment. Lighting looks great, regardless of what map you’re playing on, whether it is night or day. Detail of everything in the game is top-notch, from your weapons to the crate you’ve just ran past. Further, the environment looks great as well. Instead of just having a basic map to run around in, with everything around you being static and dull, you’ll see a number of items that blow in the wind, and in such a way that it looks natural. It’s this kind of detail that catches my eye when I’m in-game, and it gives me a reason to enjoy and remember the map I’ve just played.
Controls are a big problem when it comes to this genre on iOS devices, and as much as I would like to say that Afterpulse has fixed the problem; it hasn’t, but it has improved on it, to a degree. Your initial controls consist of a left analog stick to move your character, you can swipe the right side of your screen to your leisure to look around and you’re also given a button which allows you to shoot. Lastly, providing your gun has a scope on it, you’ll also be given a button to zoom in, as well as a gadget slot for something like grenades.
Now, the problem with this genre on iOS devices is the fact that you don’t have any physical buttons to make use of. Shooters work best on PC, due to the fact that you’ll be using a mouse and keyboard, a control scheme that rewards skill and accuracy. Unfortunately, on touchscreen devices, you’re stuck without that option, and must swipe your fingers on a screen where you get no response from what you’re touching until an action has taken place. Simply put, it’s a real pain to want to play a shooter like this on iOS devices, due to the lack of a decent control scheme.
However, Afterpulse doesn’t solve the problem of this control scheme, but it does improve upon it. Instead of needing pin-point accuracy, the iPhone game gives you some auto-aim. It isn’t subtle auto-aim like on consoles; however, instead it’s completely obvious that your crosshair is moving towards your enemy, providing you’re looking in that general direction. It does still require a finite amount of skill, but the game will end up doing a lot of the aiming for you.
Gameplay in Afterpulse is definitely what I would consider fun, since it’s designed to be fast paced. Each game generally doesn’t last more than 5 minutes, depending on the lobby you’re in, and this allows you to get a quick couple of games in during a lunch break. Since you’re not given the ability to crouch or go prone, you’ll be left to run around the map in search of people to kill, and generally when you find someone, either they’ll end up dead or you will. It’s quite rare to have someone escape, whether that is you or them.
What Afterpulse does a little differently from other shooters is how it deals with its weapons. You can upgrade your weapons by levelling them up, evolving them and just making overall improvements to them. This can be seen as both a positive and a negative: reason being for a positive is that it gives you a reason to want to keep playing, to improve your gun and effectively get better. The negative for this, though is how it makes the iPad game unbalanced. Afterpulse focuses on PVP, as it is a competitive shooter, but having a newer player going up against a veteran player may not even come down to skill on who wins at the end of the day, and instead on the individual who spent the most time or money on their weapon. You’re allowed to divide a player-base thanks to skill, which you can’t help. But being able to improve your weapon to such a degree where it’s better than everyone else’s, then it makes things a little dodgy from a competitive stand point.
You can switch out what armour you have equipped on your character, which will actually buff their stats, be that accuracy or something else, as well as mix-matching weapons. This again ties into the broadening of the gap between the newer players and the veterans. It’s not quite as bad, since you can’t upgrade armor and helmets, but it still adds to that edge the older players will get over the newer ones, without needing skill to be included.
Overall, I’ve really quite enjoyed my time with Afterpulse (Free), even if it does feel a little more geared towards your items at times, rather than skill, but that doesn’t hold back the fact that the iPhone game is just some straight up fun to play. Plus, it looks great on almost any device that can run it. Controls take a little bit of getting used to, but you can up your sensitivity if it’s not to your liking and move the buttons around on the screen wherever you like. Quite frankly, the game is an enjoyable, competitive shooter that almost anyone can jump in and delight in, regardless whether you’re playing against real people or computer bots.
Summary: If you’re looking for a free shooter that you can play during a lunch break, then I would certainly give Afterpulse a go. Controls take a bit of getting used to, but the game provides you with auto-aim which makes it a whole lot easier to use than what you would normally expect: making for a worthwhile shooter for you to spend some time on.