Revolt – review

This new entry into the dual-stick shooter genre gives you more story than the norm, but brings nothing new to the table…

The AppStore has become a bit of a dumping ground for dual-stick shooters, for every standout like Mini-Gore and iDracula, there are hundreds of knockoffs. Some games take the formula and build a fuller experience out of it with the likes of Guerilla Bob, and it’s that game that Revolt feels most similar too. That is if Guerrilla bob was set in a post-apocalyptic world run by machines. Ok, ok it’s nothing like Guerrilla Bob, what I mean though is that most dual stick shooters are arena based affairs where you are tasked to survive wave-after-wave of enemies. Like Guerilla Bob though, Revolt takes that basic premise but adds level structure and storyline.

revolt1As mentioned, Revolt takes place after a catastrophic event called the ‘Rapture’ where the majority of humans have been wiped out by a virus, only then to see the world over-run by machines. You play as a rebel, who was free’d from an ignorant life building the machines. Now enlightened by the rebellion uprising, and seeing your fellow rebels slain, you take it upon yourself to take out the machines and put an end to the madness.

The story is actually pretty well told, however it is quite unoriginal, borrowing heavily from films such as Terminator and the Matrix. In fact the story does become a double edged sword at times, in which the gameplay fails to live up to it. For example, the story describes in one intro to a level that our hero ‘Guy’ “battled pacifier squads, robot sentries and even roaming beasts of the wilderness”, however in the gameplay you never see the light of day, instead confined to corridors and mazes of metal walls and flickering computers. While this all looks nice, and there is some variation to the enemies – particularly in the last few levels – it would have been nice to play in the environments and battle these wild beasts mentioned in the text.

The same can be said for Guy’s back story. One of the reasons he can take on the machines is through his skill as an engineer before his time as a rebel. The story texts talk of him creating new equipment throughout the adventure and assembling upgraded weaponry from these parts to help him in his quest. When in reality this is nothing more than collecting fallen credits from downed foes and exchanging them for upgraded or new weaponry in the shop between levels. For me, this is a huge missed opportunity to add some Metroid-like adventure elements to the levels to break up the shooting action. So that you must pick up various parts to make new weapons and then assemble them at the end of each level. Instead, what we end up with is game-play similar to so many shooters out there.

revolt2Visually the game has great style going for it. Reminding me of early Playstation or N64 titles, it features minimal texture detail, and instead relies on cartoon like textures and blocky models. But it really works well and creates a consistent and believable world. The lighting is the standout though, bathing the levels in a neon glow and dark shadows. This comes at a price however, with a clunky frame-rate – especially during fire fights and explosions featuring multiple enemies – even on an iPhone 4.

The same can’t be said for the music. When you engage in a battle, the music ramps up to match. However, just as it gets going and you kill the enemy and move on, it suddenly stops, breaking the tune mid flow. It seems like a bug to me, but is off putting nonetheless.

Controls work well for the most part. The dual sticks work as usual, with the left controlling motion and the right controlling that of the direction of fire. Firing can be a bit cumbersome, due to the fire button being a little on the sensitive side. This means that occasionally you will start shooting in another direction until you slide you thumb towards the enemy. I would like to see a default  forward aim when you initially press the fire button, so that when you run into an enemy at close quarters, you won’t be shooting the wrong way. The rest though, including the ability to simple drag your grenades onto enemy positions, work well.

revolt3Despite my criticism, the game is still a lot of fun to play. On normal mode it’s challenging and there is some strategy to selecting upgrades before each mission… do you power up your weapons or stick with what you have but ramp up your armour? The bigger bosses are fun to engage, particularly the end of game boss, and when it’s all over there is the staple of all dual-stick shooters, the ‘Survival’ mode. It’s just a shame that the developers didn’t push the potential that the story alludes to. Hopefully, the clinks in it’s chain will be ironed out come the sequel, which I hope will come… and which the story certainly leaves open for.


Revolt is out now $1.99. Get it now on the Revolt - Kristopher Peterson and Jaap Kreijkamp

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  • Austin

    After playing this for a little bit, there a few things I agree with and disagree with. First, the story, in my mind is good. Even though it takes some stuff from futuristic movies, that’s what makes the gameplay good. Even though it can be sort of confusing at times. A few things that I don’t agree with are the graphics, the characters do seem a bit blocky and when meshed with other better textured objects can look kinda weird. I think the one thing that really ruins it for me is the story. As I said in the beginning, it’s great that they are trying to integrate a story into this game but I also do not think that stories have ever been good for dual stick shooters. This is what I always loved in Minigore, you just played and killed enemies and tried to get a high score. Even though this game has the same goal, it is not as good as Minigore in terms of accomplishing what dual stick shooter are meant to be… in my opinion.

    Overall, it’s a good game and my score would be 4/5