Since its unveiling earlier this year, Shadowgun has been one of the most highly anticipated iOS games of the year. The graphics have made quite a splash, touted as a ‘console-quality’ gaming experience. Now that it’s arrived, does it live up to the hype?

Shadowgun is a solid third-person shooter in the vein of Gears of War. In fact, if you’re a Gears fan you’ll feel right at home. The cover system has made it over, and shooting hordes of enemies while crouching behind a wall is the main gameplay mechanic. The story is easily forgettable, and many of the lines are just downright corny. However, the voice acting is well done. While Shadowgun’s gameplay is solid, there’s really nothing innovative about it. You’ll have the impression that you’ve played all this before throughout the game. Surprisingly, Shadowgun does not include multiplayer, at least not at launch. Multiplayer is a feature that has been promised in an upcoming patch, and it will certainly add much more replay value to what is otherwise a relatively short experience.

The graphics are the real treat to Shadowgun. The game is beautiful; sometimes it’s easy to forget you’re playing on a mobile device. Mad Finger’s Unity engine is an impressive technically feat, to be sure. An iOS game hasn’t looked this good since Infinity Blade. The visuals push Apple’s hardware to the limit. Audio is also top-notch, from the voice acting to the frantic gunfire. However, the environments tend to be a bit repetitive and you’ll find yourself fighting the same enemies over and over.

The controls are based on the now-standard shooting mechanics for iOS: left thumb stick for movement and the right side of the screen controls look. There are a few extra buttons thrown onto the screen for other actions such as shooting and reloading. One mechanic that sticks out is the cover system. Rather than having to hit a button to duck behind cover, simply running up to it is enough to snap on. It’s an interesting concept and generally works well. This scheme is perfectly suited for the touch screen and makes it faster and easier to quickly duck behind something when you’re being shot at. However, the controls are not without their problems. The cover snap system isn’t perfect, and there are times when you get stuck to a wall and can’t get off. These happen rarely, but it’s infuriating when it does happen. Is it a game-breaker? No, but you will die because of this glitch a few times throughout the game.

Should you get Shadowgun? If you wish you could play Gears of War mobile, then yes. The graphics are certainly impressive, and the game is solid, if not particularly innovative. The Unity engine shows a ton of promise, and Mad Finger is definitely one of the frontrunners in iOS gaming graphics. The lasting value of the game hinges on the multiplayer component, which is still in production. As it is right now, Shadowgun is a beautiful but shallow game, worthy of a few hours of gaming but without much to keep you coming back.

Here’s The Rundown:

+Some of the best graphics on iOS to date

+Solid controls and gameplay

-We’ve seen this all before

-Repetitive enemies and gameplay.