LoneWolf, developed by (take a deep breath) FDG Entertainment GmbH and Co.KG, is described by the company as a neo-noir sniper game, and, really, that is the best description for this enthralling shooter. For most of the game you play as a nihilistic antihero who goes by the name of – yep, you guessed it – Lonewolf, who becomes a mercenary for an organization known as The Assembly. The presence of the infamous character, as well as the game’s striking use of light and shadow, is highly representative of the popular film-noir genre that saw its popularity spike in the 1960s. Likewise, the slick updated visuals that give the game a modern look embody the idea of the neo-noir genre which arose a decade later. As for the sniper aspect, well let’s just say you’ll have plenty of opportunities to exercise your trigger finger. And let me tell you: it feels great.
Lonewolf opens with the antihero meeting with a member of The Assembly, and your first task is to take out a lawyer who has it out for the organization, no questions asked. Point. Shoot. Report. This is the basic formula of the game, and soon enough you’ll realize that your character is the unsettling silent type whose moral compass is buried even deeper than his victims. It’s not to the game’s detriment, though, for while the story is competent enough it really only serves as a platform to get you to the next mission. Granted, the game’s comic-like style of storytelling and dark atmosphere are compelling in their own right, even if only for its aesthetic appeal.
Packing four chapters worth of missions, LoneWolf does an excellent job of keeping things fresh. Objectives range from taking hostages in for interrogation, preventing a suicide of a key target, or the good ol’ fashioned elimination of all enemies. Small touches, such as the distinct feeling of each weapon or the shift in perspectives near the midpoint of the game, where you’ll be playing as a member of the police force, bring a level of nuance to LoneWolf that helps it stand out among other sniper-based games.
When it comes to sheer content, the developers of LoneWolf aren’t pulling any punches. In addition to the main story, there is a target practice mode when you need to get back your edge and a host of mini games such as duck hunt or speed training that can serve as a respite from missions or function as endgame content. The customization options are also fairly extensive, with sixteen different sniper rifles to choose from (not including the handgun sequences of the game) and a decent selection of scopes and attachments. The inclusion of bullet drop and wind factors when lining up your shot provide a welcome challenge to the point and shoot formula while also helping to create an authentic shooting experience. The crack of a .50 caliber followed by the swift and powerful response as the bullet pierces your target is immensely satisfying, and the game does an impressive job of simulating the weight behind each and every shot taken.
Though you can technically play through the game without paying a dime, you would need to be extremely efficient when taking out targets and privy to the amount of bullets you are using. The free version of LoneWolf allows you to refill your magazine by watching short thirty second ads or paying a hefty sum of in game cash, but there is a limit to the amount of times you can perform this action. Once you use up those turns, the game forces you to purchase the Premium version to refill your magazine permanently. This isn’t as much a criticism of the game as it is a warning to players who choose to play the free version. In any case, the price tag on LoneWolf is a mere $1.99, a small fee to pay for a meticulously crafted Android action game that is engaging until the very last mission.
But is it hardcore?
Slick visuals and a close attention to detail make LoneWolf an exceptionally riveting shooter.