Minigore is the latest "twin stick" shooter to grace the iPhone. Developer Mountain Sheep has put together the game as a budget-priced prelude to full release Hardgore, a tower defence game due for release towards the end of the year. While the single level on offer here is simple, the gameplay basic and the life-span limited to competing for high scores, Minigore's style and charm make it hard to put down.
Minigore couldn't be much simpler. You control a farmer with an unlimited ammo machine gun, defending your land from a constant stream of strange black furry monsters (think the soot balls from Spirited Away, only more evil). With the two on-screen control sticks you can move around and shoot around 360 degrees simultaneously, making the gameplay familiar to anyone who's played iDracula.
Considering that you're using virtual control sticks the movement and responsiveness on offer here is very good, although it takes some time to get fully up to speed with their speed limitations. Enemies come in three sizes, with the larger ones releasing smaller creatures when shot. This makes for a constantly exciting and tense experience, as you're always facing off against wave after wave of enemies. Add in to the mix a faster moving flaming enemy and you'll need to be on your toes at all times in order to get a score worth posting on the online leaderboard.
As well as your basic machine gun (which does the job very well), you can pick up a limited ammo shotgun from crates, blow up said crates to cause a mini explosion or turn into a devastating enemy destroying beast. This is achieved by picking up three clovers, giving you a small amount of time as the menacing creature. Be careful not to find yourself in the middle of a pack of enemies when you transform back again, though, or you'll be facing an early grave - two bites from an enemy and you're dead.
Problems are few and far between, but we did encounter the odd annoying death due to enemies creeping up on our character from beneath the virtual sticks. The lower two corners of the screen are always covered by your fingers and it's hard to spot enemies that come from that direction. There's also an issue over lifespan. Developer Mountain Sheep has promised updates, but at the moment there's only one map, two weapons and a single enemy type.
For 59p Minigore is highly recommended, although far from the perfect iPhone release. Its presentation is top class and the dual-stick controls work well, but we can't see the fun lasting for more than a few weeks and the odd cheap death might annoy high score junkies. Still, we can't wait to see what Mountain Sheep delivers with follow-up Hardgore.
Version 1.0 reviewed