Bullet Time Any Time. Anywhere
Some genres really lend themselves well to mobile gaming: puzzle games, RPGs, card games, and so forth. However, some don't. One particular genre that I struggle to find enjoyment in on mobile devices is the first-person shooter. The often frantic gameplay that these games require is made difficult by touch controls. That made me a bit hesitant to try Hiker Games' new mobile game for iOS and Android, FZ9: Timeshift. However, its core mechanic turns what is usually a hard genre to make fun on mobile a lot of fun.
FZ9: Timeshift's core mechanic incorporates a Max Payne and Matrix-like bullet time slowdown effect when the player isn't moving. Here, bullets move incredibly slowly. When the player walks, time passes normally. This offers the player the ability to see the red trails from enemy bullets in the slowed down view and move accordingly to dodge them, as all it takes is one hit for players to die.
|The trains may move, but these targets are currently stationary.|
|You can see the red trails of the bullets to determine when and where to evade.|
The campaign of FZ9: Timeshift possesses about eight chapters with approximately 5-6 missions each. These are usually bite-sized in length, though some are quite lengthy in comparison. With the one-hit deaths, it can mean redoing a sizable portion of level in later chapters, but this burden is lessened with the ability to use gems to revive if desired. Levels themselves are linear and offer no rewards for exploration for the few occasions in the game where there is any semblance of exploration to be found. This also results in each run through a level giving players little variation in how they complete it.
Apart from the campaign, other modes unlock as the player completes chapters in the campaign. There is a cycle mode that randomly chooses a mission type for the player to try to overcome. Some of these include defending an area from enemies, jumping over a parade of oncoming reckless-driving cars, maneuvering and jumping through a laser grid, and picking up enemies with a sniper rifle on an opposite building rooftop. There is also a PvP mode where you compete against a player to get through a campaign level before they do. This mode incorporates a ranking system to keep players engaged.
FZ9: Timeshift offers controls that are mighty easy to follow. There's a virtual analog stick on the bottom left of the screen, and above that is a section of screen to press to automatically lock-on to a nearby enemy within your view. On the right side of the screen are the jump and weapon fire buttons. When you're near a gun you can pick up, you need to just tap in the center of the screen. Finally, looking around is performed by sliding your finger along and around the screen. As stated, this scheme works well considering the pace of the game, which is quite atypical of the other FPSes on mobile devices.
|Zombies. I've never seen these things appear in a game lately...|
FZ9: Timeshift isn't the most impressive gaming app on either the Apple or Google Play storefronts. Its visuals hearken back to the PlayStation 2 era, and even then the performance isn't steady. Of course, if you watch gameplay of Timeshift, you'd think there was crazy amounts of stuttering when in actuality it's the player constantly being in and out of the bullet time mode. The music delivers a mix of level music and more intense battle music when enemy encounters get underway while the sound effects are rather rote at best. There is no voice acting to speak of in the game.
|This game definitely has a low budget feel to it.|
[SPC Says: B-]