Lock ‘N’ Load, a ghoulish dual-stick shooter developed by GameLab and published by Chillingo, is now available from the app store. Featuring a variety of enemy types, oversaturated graphics, upgradeable attributes, and a few mini-games to boot, Lock ‘N’ Load provides a wacky, quip-filled adventure that kept us entertained.
Lock ‘N’ Load Pros:
- Colorful cartoon style and great lighting effects
- Arcade soundtrack
- Familiar dual-stick controls with easy weapon-swapping accessibility
- Variety of enemies and upgradeable weaponry
- Additional campaign, challenge levels, collectible hidden gifts all add replay value
- GameCenter and Crystal integration for leaderboards and achievements to earn
Lock ‘N’ Load Cons:
- Sticks feel a little sticky, leading to unresponsiveness when moving and aiming difficulties
- Difficult to collect enough money to max out character upgrades
- Attempts at humor, use of cliches, and repetition of catchphrases can get annoying quickly
When creepy minions conjured up by an evil little girl destroy your flower beds, what choice do you have but to don a nearby hockey mask and seek to put a stop to her dangerous antics? Early on, you’ll meet a wily old lady in a wheelchair who has you complete an errand in exchange for a weapon. She pops back up now and again, offering exposition, spouting clichés, and even getting in on the act while allowing you to rest for a spell. Most of your time will be spent moving from location to location, blasting enemies spawned by the little girl until you’ve cleared the area and released the locks preventing you from advancing. Little twists like needing to collect all pumpkins in the patch before moving on help to keep things fresh. Each enemy has a different look and attack pattern, which must be learned and countered for success. Some enemies can only engage in melees, while others have ranged attacks using pistols, crows, ice blasts, or pumpkin bombs. You can have up to 3 weapons available, though only one is unlocked from the start. Fortunately, this one has unlimited ammo, as you’ll probably leave your thumb squarely on the fire stick as you constantly circle the swarms of baddies. Health and ammo drops are infrequent, as are cash drops needed to purchase weapon upgrades and potions. Of course, in-game currency is available in exchange for real-world dollars, though we’ve never been a fan of this limiting factor, especially in games that charge you up front anyway. If you do manage to snag a few upgrades and power through the 16 levels available in the main campaign, you’ll unlock an additional campaign as well as some challenge levels to enjoy.
The graphics have a nicely polished and cartoonish appeal, utilizing oversaturated colors and terrific shading effects. The animations are a bit stiff, especially the movements of the main character, though not so awkward as to affect our enjoyment of the game. Each enemy has a distinct look, though some can look a bit too similar to quickly distinguish, especially in the heat of battle. Each location has a distinctive look and feel, and the maze-like hallways lead to plenty of open areas in which to hold your ground. Your health bar on the right depletes as you get hit, though you’re offered the option to buy a health potion to keep from keeling over. If you do die, you can restart from the latest checkpoint (basically the last doorway you went through), though using this option will wipe out any points you’ve earned thus far in the level. The soundtrack is cool, and the voiceover work is better than expected, too. The dual-sticks control movements and aiming/firing, with autofire and aim assist options available. We did have some trouble locking on to the desired enemy and experienced some occasional unresponsiveness from the movement stick. Weapon switching is handled with the buttons in between the sticks, which also indicate remaining ammo. The cash tallies seemed to be a bit off, though we could have just been expecting larger totals when picking up wads of greenbacks.
Replay value is good, as uninterrupted runs through levels are necessary to score big points. Gifts are hidden in each level, requiring you to snag all three to unlock the ability to purchase different outfits. The additional campaign and half-dozen challenge levels also give you something to shoot for upon subsequent play throughs. A hard difficulty is also available for anyone who finds the normal challenge too easy. Crystal and GameCenter integration provide global leaderboards and a bunch of achievements to earn. A universal app for $0.99, Lock ‘N’ Load is a solid 4-Dimple offering.
Lock 'N' Load Review,