The SilverBullet feels like a game with good ideas made by people who didn’t know what to do with them. It’s clear that there was potential here, as the game plays like a bite-sized more linear version of the original Metal Gear Solid. Unfortunately the game takes no advantage of its interesting mechanics and the end result is nothing short of mediocre; delivering excitement at the start before quickly falling to tedium.
The SilverBullet is a stealth-action game with a semi top-down perspective, a genre not too often seen in the mobile game market. It begins in a promising manner: you start by investigating a mysterious accident on a dockyard, only to find no clue as to what happened other than the appearance of a horde of endless zombies. The SilverBullet is in no way a zombie game, and while I would normally cry foul at their addition, I appreciated their use in the opening level, as slow moving enemies providing good opportunities to learn the controls. You move around by sliding your left thumb around the touch screen, similar to a console analog stick, and you shoot with a single tap, automatically aiming at the nearest enemy. It might sound almost too simple, but the introductory level makes perfect use out of the control scheme. It gets more challenging with the first boss fight, forcing you to run and dodge exploding debris while timing your shots just right, as the dockyard falls to pieces around you.
That first boss fight is a spectacle, and I was looking forward to more moments of the same quality. Unfortunately, the game never again reaches those heights. In fact it never even comes close. The second level gives you the first opportunity for stealth, as your character claims to want a bonus for not using her weapons. The stealth works by walking into an enemy, and auto-initiating a silent takedown. The flaw in the system is that the stealth is not rewarding in the slightest. The mandatory silent walk is ludicrously slow, and the enemies’ movements are too simple to offer any challenge. The Rambo approach is more efficient and effective, as ammo is never a problem outside of a few boss fights. But the action route is no more satisfying than going stealth. It’s entirely too easy to mindlessly walk through the levels, tapping the auto-aim, and repeating. In case you manage to die, you have a large surplus of revivals, called Miracle Crosses, and they’re very easy to sustain. Thanks to them, dying devolves into a momentary inconvenience rather than something to avoid or to encourage you to play better.
The game also includes a slight RPG system. You can level up to gain health, and find items called Demon Souls, which can be spent to upgrade the basics: health, damage, speed, and accuracy. Because of how the enemies scale with you, upgrading is a necessity, but you never feel like you improved your character in any meaningful way. You still play the same way, enemies still die in a matter of seconds, and no matter what, stealth is never a worthy option.
The SilverBullet wears its influences on its sleeve; the overhead stealth is reminiscent of Metal Gear Solid, and the style of the gunplay takes cues from early Tomb Raider. But despite a solid base and some good ideas, it never gets off the ground; each individual aspect is too shallow to be of any worth. The developers have the potential to create a great game, but this isn’t it.
Is it Hardcore?
Some good ideas don’t make up for lackluster stealth and gun combat.