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Commando Jack Review
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Commando Jack, a tower defense game with a first-person shooter mechanic, is now available from the app store. Developed by Colossal Games and published by Chillingo, Commando Jack is a fairly standard addition to the TD genre save for its ability to put you into the thick of the action.

Commando Jack Pros:

  • Polished presentation with different environment types
  • Soundtrack has appealing quality
  • Tap and drag controls are easy to use for placing towers; easy to switch to turret control
  • Multiple turret types and perks to purchase with in-game currency
  • GameCenter integration for global leaderboards and lots of achievements

Commando Jack Cons:

  • Other than cool first-person control option, it’s a fairly standard TD
  • Maintaining consistent aim with turret is difficult; controls feel backward
  • Access to turret upgrades requires in-game payment, forcing you to grind a bit for something most TD games have unlocked from the start

Commando Jack contains both Campaign and Endless modes, as well as a level select option to replay levels. Each level allows you to choose your difficulty level, which adjusts the number of waves you must endure and seems to make some enemies a bit easier to defeat. There are a variety of alien types to battle, with the armored tank-bound type being particularly tough to pick off. There are a variety of turret types to acquire and use, though you can only take five into any given battle. You’ll need to purchase access, as well as purchase upgrade levels, using coins earned for defeating enemies. Levels are open-path, giving you creative control over how you place turrets to send enemies twisting and turning through a dangerous maze on their way to your base. Where the game takes an interesting and exciting leap is in its decision to give the gamer the ability to man the base turret and shoot up some alien scum. It can be frustrating to sit idle and watch creeps get through your defenses and feel powerless to stop them from reaching the end point. You won’t feel that way in Commando Jack, as you can easily switch to a first-person viewpoint and blast away at approaching foes, saving points to purchase expensive towers or simply getting in on the action. The gun can be a little unwieldy and difficult to keep trained on the enemies, but it’s still a fun mechanic that helps to set the game apart.

Graphically, the level designs are interesting, with some utilizing bridges and the like, while others are simply open fields with the occasional object to work with. The grid squares are small, allowing for lots of towers to be placed in its limited space. Lighting and shading effects give locations a polished and appealing look. Health and points to be spent on towers are indicated in the upper left corner, wave number and current score reside at the screen top, and access to perks and game speed options are in the upper right corner. You switch from normal view and first-person view with a button in the lower right corner, while towers can be dragged from their buttons in the lower right corner onto green highlighted squares. Yellow squares must be left open for walkways, while red squares indicate illegal placements. Upgrading or selling towers requires tapping the target tower and hitting the proper button. When in first-person mode, you aim by dragging your finger on the screen’s left side while holding your finger on the right half of the screen fires your weapon. It feels a bit backward, but you get used to it. The battle sound effects are great, and the soundtrack has a relaxing vibe. The militaristic tune that plays over the menus is also very cool.

Replay value is very good, as the goal of earning three stars on each level and in each difficulty can keep you busy, as will chasing high scores in Endless mode. Earning enough coins to obtain all weapons, upgrade levels, and perks can keep you coming back, too, as will finding the optimal turret loadout to boost your scores. GameCenter integration provides global leaderboards and four dozen achievements to earn. A universal app for $0.99, Commando Jack is a solid 4-Dimple choice.

Commando Jack Review, reviewed by Kevin on 2012-08-09T02:26:42+00:00 rating 4.0 out of 5

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