Storm the Train
Developer: Games Faction
Platform: iPhone (reviewed), iPad, iPod Touch
Release Date: November 8, 2012
Price: FREE (HERE)
Do you like shooting zombies? How about robots? Vampires?’Ninjas? Have you ever been able to shoot all of those on your portable device in the same game before?
If the answer is no, then Storm the Train is here to cater to your blood-lust for murder across the various critters and bogeymen of the multiverse. Does this all-out action shooter carve out a place for itself amongst the App Store puzzlers, or does someone need to put it out of its misery?
Side-scrolling, all-out action shooters are something you may expect as indie titles on Steam or as Xbox Live Arcade titles, but they’re hardly a common occurrence on the iOS platforms. Storm the Train bucks that trend.
The game wastes no time getting you into the action, the second you hit the play button you are taken to the character select screen. Graham is your average action star, and as such he is the most balanced of the characters in terms of health and agility. Mason is the grizzled veteran (and perhaps his name was inspired by the grizzled veteran John Mason from The Rock) who is slower but has a healthy serving of hit points. Carrera is the lithe action-chick. She’s low on health and high in agility.
As soon as you make your choice, you’re helo-dropped onto a train moving through a spooky Transylvanian countryside. Zombies and skeletons begin lumbering towards you and you’ll have to start blasting away at them. As you proceed along the train you’ll run into bosses, collectable coins that serve as the game’s currency, and crates containing a variety of weapons – everything from assault rifles to uzis to rocket launchers. Once you’ve cleared the train, you’ll jump onto the next one.
This time you’ve been launched into what can only be described as Disney’s Tomorrowland gone wrong. Robots are out to get you, and these enemies operate differently to the skeletons and zombies. Some will shoot you, some have a lot more health, and others will run at you much faster than other enemies. It’s a good assortment of foes and that ensures Storm the Train never really feels tedious.
Of course that’s not the only thing that will keep you coming back. A fully-fledged upgrade and power-up purchasing system is included in the game. Using the coins you’ve collected in game (or, if you’re so inclined, you can drop real cash to buy packs of coins) you can buy everything from new guns, to increasing your proficiency with guns you’ve already purchased (so if you want to channel Rambo, I suggest maxing out your Assault Rifle damage first), power-ups that will help you take out your enemies, and health bonuses. The list goes on.
The game also features a variation of the three-star system now so common in iOS games, but with a twist. As you complete these star missions, new in-game missions are automatically unlocked and will appear randomly as you traverse a train. Again, the developers have ensured that you can play this game over and over and always have something new to do or unlock.
Storm the Train is unique. It’s a fun, easy-to-play side-scrolling shooter that will make sure you’ve always got a reason to come back to play it.
Audio & Visual
The art design of Storm the Train falls just short of fantastic. That is to say it looks quite good, but it won’t blow you away. The character designs aren’t unique, but their adherence to action stereotypes is what makes them fun.
The various enemy designs are actually quite creative, and the visual cues on each model do a good job of telling you how a new enemy is capable of eviscerating you. The fantasy and future backgrounds also do a good job setting the tone for each train you traverse.
If you’ve listened to a few gaming podcasts or watched some machinima on YouTube, you’ll probably recognize the game’s soundtrack. That’s because it’s quite literally just modified versions of royalty free tracks. I can’t really fault them for this though because those tracks are actually great and suit the game well. Most importantly, guns in this game do make the right amount of “boom” you’d expect, rather than the “pings” and “zings” I’ve heard in some other iOS games.
In short, Storm the Train is an all-out action adventure that will keep you coming back. Its smooth controls, upgrade and mission systems, and solid presentation ensure that this is an iOS experience you’re sure not to forget.
In the past Chillingo has released some good, but predictable games that seemed to be following in the footsteps of other iOS puzzlers that involved cutesy animals. Storm the Train bucks that trend and carves out its own spectacular niche on the App Store.