Among a slew of new and exciting Android Action games in December came developer Gameloft’s new Action-FPS, Sniper Fury. While providing some adequate and well intended set-pieces for first-person shooter junkies, the game ultimately just misses its mark.
Kicking off strong, Sniper Fury introduces you to its world with an animated sequence that’s stylistic and violent, giving you a good taste of the carnage to come–if you couldn’t already tell by the title. There is some impressive narration at the game’s outset that sports top-notch voice acting and engaging dialogue that avoids the cliches one would expect from the genre. Unfortunately, the problems with the game begin with the combat tutorial. Despite my initial positive reaction to the detailed models and environment, the moment my finger touched the screen to take aim at my very first target, I cringed. The most important task of this game is to create gameplay dynamics that make playing as a sniper an enjoyable experience. As I slid my finger across the screen I felt an immediate disconnect, not only in the degree of movement between my thumb and the crosshair, but in how the crosshair interpreted my movement. Twitchy, overly sensitive, and restricted controls make the simple task of navigating my crosshair over a target and firing a truly frustrating experience. A smoothness and fluency to the fundamental aspect of using a sniper rifle is lacking for a title that promises so much.
Sniper Fury is not without its redemptive aspects. In fact, for many players, the game will compensate for its underlying flaws. The soundtrack has an ominous feel, brewed with intense themes that effectively help to create an entertaining black-ops/hero for hire experience. The music blends with the sound effects of gunshots, yelling, and an assortment of environmental sounds in such a way that an immersive ambience is conceived. High quality, detailed graphics allow you to further appreciate your missions as a mercenary. Textures of environments and character models are well animated, and you’ll often find yourself stopping to admire the scenery as you eliminate opposing forces scattered throughout the missions.
Did I mention eliminating opposing forces that are scattered throughout the missions? Good, because this brings me right back around to another blemish in the game’s flow. The AI is laughable in Sniper Fury; at no point did I feel challenged by any aspect of being in combat with them, other than trying to master an aim dynamic with no actual learning curve. You’ll often find yourself firing away at enemy combatants who are prone, with no cover, directly in front of you, making the aim of a Star Wars stormtrooper look good. Some missions even ask you to eliminate two targets that are standing completely still, displaying no defensive behavior that would make it any harder to shoot them than shooting a wall. The silver lining in all of this are the death animations, which are quite entertaining. AI will react to specific parts of their body that have been shot and will bite the dust relative to their posture and environment, which makes for a nicely fleshed-out death sequence.
Completing missions in various game modes rewards you with XP to level up and stockpile the definitive treasures of a sniper for hire: cash, gold, and rubies. These items allow you to upgrade your weaponry and refill your energy. Run out of energy and you’ll run into a microtransaction play-block for however long it takes to replenish your energy points. In order to progress in the game at a reasonable pace you’ll likely need to put down some of your own cash. This isn’t necessarily unreasonable for a free game, but it’s hard to justify given the gameplay experience. A few cool gadgets, such as heat vision and satellite scanning, are available in later stages of the game, but are mostly irrelevant as you’ll already be breezing through each mission.
Sniper Fury does sport a PvP system which allows you to raid other players bases and take on their squad mates. Squad mates are AI bots awarded to you after completing missions, which you’ll then assign to defend your own base. Other players can also choose to raid your base and the difficulty of the task is determined by the levels of your squad members. While this game mode is probably the most challenging (and conceptually the most rewarding), the amount of energy points it drains results in it being more of a side thought, and lacks any redeeming appeal in the overall scope of the game.
In the end, Sniper Fury operates as a personality test for its players. There is no denying the effort put into creating an aesthetic that feels worthy of the game’s premise. Many facets of Sniper Fury will make players feel accomplished, whether it be the arsenal they build, or simply traversing the graphically striking levels from mission to mission, and perhaps rightfully so. Still, the game’s essential issues, and its inability to present players with an experience different from any other Android Action game of its classification, become more apparent with each minute you spend playing. If you value a game with satisfying gameplay, that’s fun, and worth investing in both with your time, and possibly finances, then Sniper Fury falls short.
And for more of our coverage, check out our list of the best Android Action games of all time.
Is it Hardcore?
Sniper Fury presents itself as a cream of the crop title, but is hindered by fundamental gameplay flaws and a failure to add anything unique or innovative, resulting in an unremarkable addition to the sniper-FPS genre.