9mm, Gameloft’s latest TPS offering, is now available from the app store. Offering plenty of violence, some sexual themes, and more than a few dirty words, 9mm earns its 17+ rating and provides a highly-enjoyable experience for adult gamers looking for something a little grittier than your average shooter.
- Gorgeous graphics that bring gritty thug world to life
- Decent voice acting and great hip hop soundtrack
- Typical controls make getting around a breeze
- Lots of weapons, different missions, and plenty of gun-fighting action
- Bullet-time ability is a blast
- Terrific multiplayer mode supports up to 12 players at once
- Lot of difficulty with pop-up buttons
- Over-the-top swearing pulls us out of the game
- Strictly linear progression will turn off some gamers expecting a sandbox game
Taking on the role of John “Loose” Kannon, it’s your job to clean the streets of LA, wiping out a consortium of drug dealers using any means necessary. When your dirty deeds become the focus of a revenge kick by a ruthless drug kingpin, it quickly becomes kill-or-be-killed. In the style of recent GTA offerings, you tackle a series of missions that take you on a tour of the seedier side of southern Cali, blasting bad guys, protecting the innocent, and staying alive by the skin of your teeth. Unlike the GTA series, the open-world setting that allowed you to pick and choose your mission order or allowed you to avoid them altogether and wreak havoc in your own way has been replaced with a strictly linear progression that requires you to keep pace or else. The missions do show a good deal of variety, so gameplay should remain fresh despite leading you down a path that’s not necessarily of your own volition.
There are a dozen chapters to complete in the single player campaign, which is standard fare for Gameloft. They did feel relatively short and the main campaign can probably be completed in just a few hours. As you can imagine, you’ll engage in one shoot-out after another, sending bullets ripping through bad guys at an alarming pace. A variety of weapons can be used, from hand guns and semi-automatics to shotguns and assault rifles. A swift headbutt now and again is also an option. Rare weapons, armor, and special ammo can be purchased with cash earned for killing bad guys, earning achievements, and completing missions, as well as via IAP if you so choose. In addition to the shoot-outs, there are a number of scenes where you’ll need to tap randomly-appearing indicators in quick succession in order to complete an interrogation or duke it out with a baddie. It tends to break up the action, but at least it’s in a meaningful way.
9mm incorporates a few notable elements that help set the game apart from others. The first and most prevalent is the inclusion of bullet-time, which allows you to flick an on-screen button that initiates a slow-motion dive that makes tagging scumbags a simpler task. This is a rechargeable ability that is most effective when you are outnumbered and have no where to run and no where to hide. The other is a multiplayer mode that makes it possible to play with up to 12 players in a single match. That’s right, a full dozen dudes can duke it out in any of 4 maps in either Free For All or Cops N’ Gangstas (Team Deathmatch) modes. You are given the ability to set time limits, score limits, player limits, and more. You can even restrict the game to Friends Only, which is great if you know a bunch of people with the game and want to match-up against one another instead of some random players.
Graphically, 9mm certainly looks the part, offering some of Gameloft’s best visuals yet. The environments have an immersive feel, making it easy to slip into the role of the character and buy into the story’s missions. Animations show good clarity and smoothness, despite the heavy action occurring on-screen. The soundtrack has a great hip-hop vibe, which fits the thug style of the game. Voice acting is decent, and sound effects further enhance the gameplay. The controls are typical Gameloft, using a virtual pad for movements, on-screen swiping to aim and direct your view, and an attack button to fire your current weapon. The bullet-time button can be swiped to initiate a directional leap and slo-mo. Weapons are swapped by swiping the weapon indicator and reloaded by tapping it. A seldom-used sprint button resides at the bottom center. Button customization is once again handled from the in-game Options menu and completely absent from the pre-game Options menu. When certain actions are required, a button appears on-screen that requires a tap to complete, such as kicking doors down, grabbing dropped weapons, interrogating witnesses, and the like. These buttons usually force you to be in a precise spot and often require multiple taps to initiate the action.
Replay value is good, as multiple difficulty levels make it worthwhile to play through the game again and again. Additionally, the multiplayer is very good and will provide hours and hours of fun through Gameloft Live! as you rank up and earn better weapons to frag your friends. A universal app (we’re loving this new angle that Gameloft has taken) at the usual $6.99, 9mm is a terrific addition to the TPS genre and a 4.5-Dimple gem.