“ Developer: Triniti Interactive Limited „
Once again, zombies have taken over the world (do they ever stop?) and it's up to you, as a crack sniper, to stop them. Perched high on top of crane, you must use your sniper rifle to pick off zombies before they reach the safe house where the last remnants of humanity are holed up. If a single zombie gets into the house, then humanity's last hope is gone and it's game over.
Call of Mini: Sniper comes from the same studio that created Minigore and Honest John (which I've also previously reviewed) and that influence is immediately apparent in the presentation. The graphics are bold and cartoon-like, with a slightly odd graphical style that gives all the characters (humans and zombies) square heads. This might look a little strange at first, but it actually works very well in a bizarre kind of way, setting it apart from other, similarly themed games, whilst ensuring a consistent look and feel with other games in the series.
Graphics are also nice and clear. Even from a distance, it's easy to spot incoming zombies and work out which what direction they are heading in (something which is essential for your strategy, as you need to identify the biggest threats and take them out first). The pseudo-3D perspective is well -implemented, giving you a clear view of the playing area and background scenery is also well-defined so that you can easily pick out the elements you can interact with (i.e. blow up).
Sound is also excellent. A suitably adrenalin-pumping tune accompanies both the main screen and the in-game action and captures the sense of excitement, even inducing panic at times. This is backed up by some excellent sound effects. The discharge of your weapons are suitably meaty (I particularly love the sound of the shotgun) and all the different weapons sound very different when fired. Various other in-game sounds (such as the alarm that goes off when your base perimeter is breached) really ratchet up the tension and have you frantically trying to take out the invaders before it's too late.
Controls have also been well-implemented. Like so much else in the game, they are simple but generally very effective. The on-screen cross-hairs indicate the current position of your gun and can be moved around simply by dragging them across the screen using your fingers. This also helps you to view more distant parts of the gaming area which are currently off-screen, effectively allowing you to look around to identify incoming threats. Firing your weapon is a simple case of hitting the fire button which is well-positioned in the bottom right hand corner of the screen (where your finger naturally falls, but doesn't obscure the game area), and alternative weapons can be selected simply by pressing their icon in the panel at the top of the screen. On the whole, controls are well laid out, intuitive and highly responsive.
The slight fly in the ointment controls-wise comes with the sniper mode. Tapping on the screen zooms in on the action, allowing you to target enemies more easily and go for headshots (which score more points and take zombies out with a single shot). Mostly, this works well, but just occasionally it can be a little frustrating. It's not uncommon for you to zoom in, carefully line up your target and then accidentally miss the fire button... which causes the game to zoom out again so you have to go through the whole process of lining up your shot again. When the action really hots up, this can be a critical problem as you simply don't have time to waste on missed shots.
Theoretically, the game is free to download, but of course, there's no such thing as a free lunch (or even a freed download) so the game has a couple of ways to try and part you from your cash. Firstly, it features in-game ads, which can be removed for a fee. In fairness, these are pretty discrete and tend only to happen over the introductory or game-over screen so I have no quibble with them.
The second way is, of course, via in-app purchases. If you want to accelerate your progress and get quicker access to more powerful weaponry, you can buy your way to success by purchasing coins and other goodies which you can then trade for additional weapons. It always astounds me quite why anyone would want to part with real cash for virtual currency, but if you're impatient to see later levels or lack skill, this is your best option. In-app purchases range from relatively cheap (99p) through to "HOW MUCH???" (£19.99). Unlike some games, though, Call of Mini is pretty fair and with a little patience and skill, it's perfectly possible to progress in the game without buying in-app purchases - you just have to accept your progress will be slower.
Call of Mini does have a pretty high difficulty level, and that's something which is potentially going to put some people off. Right from the early levels, you are hopelessly outnumbered and zombies seem to pour from almost every angle. This is a game of skill, though, and with perseverance you soon learn how to prioritise the targets and identify which zombies need to be taken out first and which can be left to bumble around for a while. Similarly, you start to develop a feel for when it's best to destroy background items up (choosing the optimum moment to blow up that fuel tank and take out multiple zombies at once) and once you suss that, the game becomes a little easier.
There is an issue with the long term appeal of the game. Apart from access to better weaponry or larger hordes of zombies, all the levels pretty much boil down to the same thing and the game quickly becomes repetitive. Whilst it's initially fun to blast away at zombies, you're not going to get particularly engrossed in the game and will soon get bored and go off and do something else. Still, whilst you might not play it in long bursts, it is a title you'll keep coming back to and it's an ideal pick up and play title when you have ten minutes to spare.
From what I've said so far (which has generally been positive), you might be slightly surprised to see that I've only awarded Sniper 3 stars. This is down to the fact that it is such a shallow game that quickly becomes repetitive. However, when you factor in that the initial download is free, then you really can't complain too much. It's a fun, competent, well -presented little game in the short term. Don't expect too much from it and you won't be disappointed.
Not an essential download by any means, but not one you'll regret either.
(c) Copyright SWSt 2012