It’s not a secret that first-person shooters don’t work well on touch screen devices. They have neither the smooth movement of a gamepad nor the precision of a mouse and keyboard. Because of this, many mobile first-person shooters lack any challenge or complexity, things that these games can’t handle simply because the player doesn’t have the means to overcome them; the controls are too disadvantageous. An inspired development team might try to work with these limitations to create a quality FPS unique to mobile devices. Unfortunately for Traitor-Valkyrie Plan this is not the case; it is both a poorly made FPS for Android, and an amateurish game in general.
I played the game with admittedly low expectations and to its credit, the first few minutes left me pleasantly surprised. The main menu looked as if care was put into it, and the mandatory tutorial was concise in explaining the controls. At first they worked; it’s not difficult to walk across a room, nor is it difficult to pick up a gun. And shooting is easy as long as your target is completely stationary and drunk.
But that’s where the positives end. The game tumbles downhill as soon as you engage in combat with a hostile enemy. “Kill the Gestapo before he notices the dead body!” the game demands of you. Where this dead body is, I can’t tell you, but that’s the more innocuous problem. In order to kill the gestapo, you have to go into cover mode, which is activated by tapping the screen at a very precise spot on the wall. Now just lean around the corner and shoot: simple enough. Except that the auto-aim is unreliable in cover mode, and tapping the screen twice to shoot doesn’t work as it’s supposed to. The only way I got past this tutorial bit was by leaning out and then back into cover, causing the agent to step forward but also forget my existence. The motionless agent was then an easy target.
That was just the first encounter in the game, but the tutorial still went on. I now had to knock out a guard with a syringe and take his uniform. Instead I tried to walk past him, but ended up walking right through him, literally. It was not until I walked ten feet that the guard noticed me and my supernatural ability and shot me down. It’s surprising that he killed me, considering I’m a ghost. So I tried again and did it right, at least I think I did. There was no syringe attack animation; the guard just fell down, more proof of my God-given ghostly abilities.
The rest of the tutorial went relatively smoothly, and the main game seemed to be an improvement. The first mission is a pseudo-stealth affair, where you can walk freely around the enemies (or through them) at your heart’s content, because of the uniform you stole. But if you’re caught doing anything suspicious the mission is over, and with no checkpoints, you’re back at the start. The lack of checkpoints was the more frustrating aspect of the level, at least until I killed the mission target and the game didn’t recognize that I did so, slamming my progress into a brick wall. I had to go into a basement, but it wouldn’t let me until I completed all the objectives, and the game was oblivious to the fact that I actually did.
I hate to stop playing a game so early, good or bad, but in this case I had to. Traitor-Valkyrie Plan isn’t just a shooter that suffers from the pitfalls of a touch screen control scheme. It goes above and beyond that and fails at the absolute basics. If the incessant typos and poor controls aren’t enough to leave a bad taste in your mouth, then the progress impeding bugs will do it.
Is it Hardcore?
Traitor-Valkyrie Plan is subpar in nearly every respect; not even worth the very low price tag.