Sniper Vs Sniper in Review – a shot in the dark

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Ahh, the joys of hurtling heavy lead missiles at both suspecting and unsuspecting enemies! Sniper Vs. Sniper isn’t your local arcade shooting game; you won’t find a great plot, nor impressive 3D cutscenes. But, those things only a pretty shooter do make; Sniper Vs Sniper is an interesting showcase, a game which pulls the trigger on excellent iDevice gaming manners, and better than ever, adds online killing into the mix.

But don’t expect to pull off as the best of the best – at least not without loading effort which each bullet. Sniper VS Sniper may be enrobed in clever marketing, but it is as technically intricate as it is detailed. To become an efficient killing machine, you will unlike me, have to possess great gaming skills: tremor-free hands, a quick eye, and a good sense of strategy. Also, I suggest aptitude in maths or, music as you will have to learn to coordinate your shots and breaths in order to accurately hit distant targets.

I have never been good at action shooters such as Time Crisis which ate through my quarters like pickpocket slums. Fortunately, mechanics are easy in Sniper VS Sniper. To shoot, you tap, and to aim, you tilt and pan. Easy enough, right? Yes and No. It is a rough balancing act because you need to be accurate. You will have to get to grips with the busy and intense multiplicity of zooming in and out (double tapping), managing binoculars, scope, and spotting the telltale white flares of incoming shots. Meanwhile, you will be shot at, have to battle a dwindling clock, and make sure not to hit the innocent. Needless to say, it s a blessing, however, that ammo reloads automatically.

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Splintering skulls with chunks of lead will nab an excited ‘head shot’ announcement, and a high score, but you can kill by hitting in the chest, and in the body. Actually, in Sniper Vs. Sniper, it is pretty much one-shot-Finch where any bullet kills. Yes, you will get more whuffie for hitting the head, but getting there isn’t like Unreal Tournament, it is hard work. Firstly, the accelerometer controls work well, but move way too slowly across the screen, and when in a hurry, hard-tilting the device means you won’t be able to see enemies on Apple’s washed-out screen which will fade to yellow or blue. Since this is a touch device, it would be helpful if Com2uS would also implement a 100% touch control scheme to help those with tremors, and to preserve colour accuracy. There are other problems: the scope is centre-weighted, meaning that nothing near the edge of the screen can be zoomed in upon and/or shot; and the last control problem is the straying calibration of your device: by the end of the game, I was tilting my entire body in order to maintain a straight shot!

That out of the way, tilt controls work wonderfully to emulate a sniper’s worst enemy, an unsteady hand and his/her own breaths which cause the gun to hover in wave-like motions. Faraway objects take time to hit; you can’t simply fire away and hope for a bulls eye, you must methodically attack each target. If you miss, the enemy will hear/see you and send his reply in the same hot lead.

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There are three basic play modes: Single Mission, 1 VS 1, and special mission. Single mission will have you clear a level of all snipers, and starts in a very good tutorial mode. Subsequent levels unlock as you progress, and you guessed it, get harder. 1 VS 1 and special mission have more in common than not, but nail a few good twists on sniping. For instance, you may face off against a single shooter, scouring windows and frames for a deadly enemy, or you may go the darkly comical route of shooting household pets with tranquiliser darts in order the save them from viruses. Here, I have to add that enemies rarely move, they hide behind mailboxes, telephone poles, autistically focused on you despite the hazard to their own health. And, while you are a veritable tank, they die with one shot.

not a cat person...

not a cat person...

Whatever single player mode you play, your skills will be culled for Sniper VS Sniper’s magic bullet: online play. Assuming you can find other players (it isn’t always easy), you can face off in a 1 VS 1 style game, or team up with mates to stop terrorists. Personally, I preferred the latter since I get sniped quickly in 1 VS 1, and when the tremors hit, I simply employ my best skills as a mostly harmless target. Fortunately, there is little lag thanks to Com2uS choosing the simple, flat graphics engine which won’t forestall aiming, or shooting. As this game matures, more people will join the online ranks, but as it is, there are still too few to start hardcore online shooting.

For the addicted socialist, Twitter and Facebook will have you bragging or sagging in front of your mates’ computers while updates and status changes will reflect not only your standing, but embarrassedly mention the b@%^ard who shot you!

Sniper VS Sniper is a task to take in. While not a deep game, its game play centres around control, timing, and accuracy; and you must learn to synchronise your breath and shots in order to succeed. There isn’t really a story and the graphics are 100% flat, but the strength of Sniper VS Sniper isn’t its looks, it is its tactical gaming engine for both online and offline play. Currently, there are a number of very good players, and as sales continue, more will check in for the showdown. But, if you are not in PST – GMT timezones, you may have a hard time finding a partner to play with since everyone is either asleep, or at work. Sniper VS Sniper’s tactical shooting and online play come encased in a relatively high price, but shooting fans should have no reason to complain. That said, if you are new to the genre, this may not be the game for you.

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App Summary
Title:Sniper VS SniperDeveloper:Com2uS
Price:$4.99App Size:43.4 MB
  • Intuitive zooming
  • Tactical sniping
  • Great emulation of sniper’s breaths
  • Smooth gameplay
  • Alternate control scheme needed
  • Faster panning needed
  • Dead-point issue for objects near edge of screen
  • Some movement would be nice; graphics are static, and boring

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Plenty of trigger-happy shooting to be had at the App Store.
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