All Guns Blazing is the second game from Derby-based indie studio EightPixelsSquare. The game is described as a free-to-play social 3D crime shooter. With a team that features developers who have previous worked for Eurocom and Rare we couldn’t wait to take a look.
The game is currently only available on iOS devices. If you can imagine merging the popular Facebook game Mafia Wars with an on-rails light gun shooter such as Time Crisis then you’ll have an idea of what to expect.
It features three in-game currencies which are cash, gold bars and casino chips. Cash is rewarded often during and after missions. Gold bars are gained less frequently and casino chips are given for watching adverts at the in-game cinema.
For players who want to progress as fast as possible it is also possible to purchase gold with real cash starting at 500 for £2.99 up to 14,000 for £69.99. We can see players who enjoy the game going for the occasional small purchase but it’s hard to see the more expensive ones being popular.
Players take the roles of crime lords Tyler Casey and Lucy Wild (she looks suspiciously like Miley Cyrus) who start out with very little. You can choose which part of the US to begin your criminal empire. Next you must take on jobs which involve various objectives that are always accomplished through lots and lots of shooting. As well as standard jobs there are also special jobs such as time limited ones related to events.
In order to take on a job you need to ensure you have health available. This is lost when you take damage during missions. If you are low on health you can wait a short time for it to recover. You can also spend a casino chip to recover a portion of your health or trade gold for an instant recovery.
The jobs are the best part of the game and take place in some rather lovely looking 3D environments. Your player automatically takes cover as enemies take to the screen. Shooting back at them requires you to simply tap on the screen. It’s important that you are accurate where you tap to not waste bullets and do the most damage. Going for headshots and environmental hazards, such as the ever popular red barrels that explode when shot, are the quickest ways to dispatch your enemies.
At times friendly targets will rush across the screen so you must try and avoid hitting them. The environments can also be shot to pieces and doing so can often reveal bonus loot. As you complete each wave of enemies you are automatically moved to the next location in that area. Sometimes you also get to choose which paths you take through the job.
Despite being simple the shooting is a lot of fun and rather addictive. This is helped by the short missions that constantly throw loot your way when you are successful. Loot comes in the form of currency or cards. There are three types of card – loot, associates and blueprints. Currently there are over 150 cards to obtain. When starting a job the game will randomly pick three cards for you to use. If you aren’t happy with the selection you can pay gold to reshuffle for a chance at new cards. You also earn XP to level up and attribute points to spend on your stats to boost things like attack power and health.
In-between missions you are treated to an interactive map of the US where you can view your growing empire. Initially you start with a simple mansion but as your cash increases you can upgrade it and add in new buildings such as a night club, restaurant, mob bank, jewellers and more. These buildings can also be upgraded and bring in various benefits over time such as cash. Cash can also be used to upgrade your weapons to your specification as well as buy clothing for your characters.
After paying to start a new build or upgrade you need to wait a certain amount of time for it to complete. For the impatient it is possible to spend gold bars in order to instantly complete a build. This is also tempting to do because you can only have one build going at a time.
After the first few levels you can build a Cartel Mansion and then choose to start your own Cartel or join an existing one. Cartels are like mini guilds or clans for 32 players. Here players can communicate and track progress as well as work together by trading needed items.
You also get to build a safehouse in Mexico which is used in the PvP portion of the game. Here you can assign defenders and upgrade the safehouse and its defences. Then you can go off and attack the safehouses of fellow players and they can do the same to you. When successful you get to steal a chunk of their cash.
All Guns Blazing is a very polished title that is incredibly addictive and packed full of things to do. After a while it does get a little repetitive but there’s a nice balance between the shooting and management of your criminal empire. It’s also a game that you can pick up and play just for a few minutes and still feel like you’re making progress. If you enjoy shooting games or have a secret desire to be a crime lord then you should definitely check it out.