I think many of us here at MakeUseOf have a bit of a love affair with first person shooters. I don’t know if maybe it’s the hard work and high stress that gets us headed over to the nearest FPS to fire off a few rounds and relieve some pressure – but you can see just how much we love them by our game reviews.
You’ve got Dave’s review of three great multiplayer first person shooter games as well as his list of FPS games with great stories. Then there’s Danny’s review of Urban Terror, and my own review of Cube2 a couple of years ago.
The thing is, when I am trying to relax, I actually want to get off the computer. I spend nearly 15 to 16 hours a day working on some kind of computer system in some kind of capacity – so if I’m playing a game to unwind, I’d actually like to do it without having to sit in front of a computer even longer. Maybe chilled out on the sofa with my shoes off and a pillow under my head.
I think Matt’s on the right track in covering several FPS games for Android. I mean, I recently explained why I haven’t been able to find a very good productive use for my tablet. It was actually a few readers that turned my thinking on that around. Why am I trying to find something “productive” to do with my tablet, when it’s actually an idea device for consumption., not so much for production. Meaning, by all means, use it to read blogs, check the news, check the weather, and yes — to play first person shooter games.
Critical Strike Portable Brings FPS Madness to the Tablet
While not specifically marketed for tablets, let’s face it – to fully experience any FPS game, you really need the larger screen of a tablet. You can purchase from a long list of great first person shooters for an Android Tablet, but if you’re looking for the affordable option – aka free – Critical Strike [No Longer Available] is the way to go. It’s actually Critical Strike Portable, and the portable part of it is actually a creative use of on-screen controls to let you do nearly any movement that you would do using your keyboard, with nothing more than your fingers. That’s no small feat, and the makers of Critical Strike Portable really did a decent job at this. The quality of the game jumps right out at the main window when you launch the game.
You can tap on settings to configure the sort of game experience you prefer to have with your tablet. If you’re noticing performance issues, by all means start cutting back some of the features like animation, physics, etc… However, if you’re just testing things out, I’d leave the settings as default and see how the game performs on your tablet first. You may be fine.
Usually, it’s smarter to start out warming up with a single-player game before you try to jump into a multi-player game and fight with the big-dogs that have been doing it for a whole lot longer than a single day, I can assure you of that. Usually if I’m testing an FPS on my computer, I’d jump immediately into multiplayer mode – because the controls are usually the same (or you can make them the same), and I’ve been playing FPS for longer than many of the players have even been alive. However, this time it’s a tablet – so I definitely took some time to warm up in single player mode. You can choose from several game types – deathmatch, zombie survival or bot match.
I really don’t like zombie survival (we’ll get to that in a bit), but I opted for death match, and then chose Helipad from the decent list of maps to choose from.
In most of these matches, you choose between being a terrorist or a counter-terrorist. It feels a bit icky to choose the terrorist side, but if you’re naturally a bad-boy at heart – heck, go for it. If you’re a super-hero type, by all means become a counter-terrorist fighter. If you just can’t decide, go with Auto Assign.
From the first moment the game play started, I realized that I was in an entirely different world than I’m used to when it comes to first person shooters. On the computer, I’ve pretty much mastered using the keyboard for maneuvering to the point where I can compete with some of the best game console players out there. However, on the tablet, you’re going to have to relearn a lot of what you used to be good at on the computer.
Your left thumb is going to give you the ability to strafe side to side or go back and forward, while your right thumb is essentially your head. It lets you point your eyes (and your gun site) in any direction. It takes some getting used to – and the first thing I did was get behind a large object in case enemies started coming at me before I figured out how to shoot.
The controls are fairly obvious. The target icon is how you shoot. The two arrows lets you change weapons. The two arrows with an R in the middle is your reload button. At the bottom of the screen you’ve got your crouch and jump buttons. Before long, I was back to using my old techniques around corners and peeking through doorways before entering.
Back around the other corner again, guys started flowing in through the door. Started taking them out with 2-3 quick shots to the head. I guess learning to aim from a distance isn’t too bad, but I have to tell you that once these quick-moving bots get close to you – trying to turn your aim and shoot quickly is not very easy with these controls. Since aiming and shooting requires the same finger, it’s nearly impossible to do both. I don’t like that.
Tap the bar chart icon at the top of the window to see the current in-game statistics at a glance in a HUD display.
Once you’ve fought the bots long enough that you feel comfortable fighting real-live players. Tap the door icon and exit to the main screen. Choose multiplayer game, and select from the list of available servers. It appears that there are plenty – at least in the US server list that I checked out. There are servers in other countries as well, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding a fast one near you.
Sometimes I like playing on the game servers in other countries – players in other parts of the world are a blast to play with. I’ve made some really good friends around the world this way, playing other FPS games. Made a few enemies too of course….
Team play in this game is a lot of fun – and if you’re playing with a group of folks that are experienced in FPS, you can get into these group-formation techniques that just obliterates the other team (unless the other team is just as experienced of course).
Make good use of the radar display in the upper left corner – it’ll give you a decent warning when danger is approaching. Ignore it at your own peril.
Playing around with the different maps is a blast, but of course with the server games, you’re beholden to whatever the person picked that set up the game. After choosing one game server randomly, I found myself trapped on a ship in Zombie mode. This apparently makes it so that anyone that gets killed turns into a nearly indestructible zombie.
Most of this game consisted of the smarter players – still human – standing topside, scanning the ship for the oncoming hoard of zombies after everyone below deck has killed eachother off.
I’ve never enjoyed zombie games – I don’t get the allure of the whole genre. I got so frustrated trying to fend them off with a basic pistol, that I spent some of my hard-earned in-game credits to purchase an AK47. That helped – a little. At least I was able to take out a couple before I got turned into a zombie myself.
Overall, I really loved playing Critical Strike Portable on my tablet. I think that the game makers did the best they could to transform all of the usual FPS movements onto a touch screen. However, like I said above, the one thing I don’t like is that I need to move and shoot with the same finger – it just doesn’t quite work. Other than that – the game is pretty addictive, the graphics are great, and the multiplayer community of gamers out there playing it is plentiful.
Take a test run of Critical Strike Portable on your Android tablet and offer your own feedback of the game. Are there other mobile FPS games that you like playing better? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.