Exclusive Sketch Nation Shooter In (P)review – iPhone art and digital destruction

Update: Sketch Nation Shooter is now live on the App Store

To date I’ve only done a few reviews of what I would consider “old school” 2D scrolling shooters such as Underground.  However the ones I have reviewed and/or own have been great recreations of a classic style of game play that proves the point that when it comes down to it, content is what really matters.  In an age of 3D, 4D, l-m-n-o-p-d-…, it’s nice to see simple succeed.  Recently I was able to get my hands on a beta copy of an upcoming app store game Sketch Nation Shooter (SNS) by developer Engineous Games.  Sketch Nation Shooter is a clever fusion of art and gaming and some creative social networking.  Read on to see what I thought of this innovative title. Feel free to discuss this (p)review of Sketch Nation Shooter in our forums.

The design of SNS is just great; it is both amusing and effective. Your main screen/background as you go through pages is a piece of lined paper and all your text, buttons and links all look like they were hand written/drawn. Even the news feed section on the main page looks like a post-it note. With a name like Sketch Nation, the design just fits in perfectly and is a great hint at what’s to come.

Now when it comes to game play there isn’t much to tell.  If you are a fan of scrolling shooters then you’re already familiar with the style.  Basically you are constantly moving forward and shooting.  Your goal is to destroy the enemies that are coming at you, as well as avoid any obstacles that may get in your way. It is a very simple and straightforward style of play that although not difficult, can definitely get addictive.

The magic really happens before you even play. One of the main features of Sketch Nation Shooter is the ability to basically design your own scrolling shooter. You can choose to design a simple version or go advanced and design the complete game. To do this you just take some paper and draw up your main player, some enemies (if you’ve chosen advanced you can also add a boss character, level sections and even an intro image/comic/whatever).  Once you have all pieces drawn out take clear pictures of each with your phone.  Then it’s just a matter of compiling and saving your level.

There are a lot more customization options available but this preview would be about twice as long if I went in to each one.  The main thing you should know is that you basically can draw/import anything you want and edit/alter how it acts.  It really is the first time (that I can recall) you’ve had the ability to create your own game, without the hours and headaches of learning how to code it from the ground up.  The only issue I had with the whole process is that the game wouldn’t always capture my images. I sometimes had to go over lines multiple times to make it dark enough to render.

The other really big feature of the game is it’s built-in social network system. Your main screen has a news feed that will keep you updated on the game and what your friends are up too. You’ll also be able to both upload AND download custom games from their built in Sketch Nation Network. So not only do you have a game, that allows you to design a game, you also have the ability to download other people’s versions of the game. So the amount of actual games you’ll end up with just within this one app is almost limitless.

Just think, using your artistic side you can now create a game that truly speaks to you.  For our family men and women out there, imagine all those drawings that your son or daughter has given to you over the years.  Now imagine them in a game not only being played by you, but by thousands of people around the world. Amazing.  I have to say, I really enjoyed Sketch Nation Shooter.  I had a feeling I would like it when I first got my hands on it and was glad that it didn’t disappoint.  I would definitely recommend this game to other scrolling shooter fans.

App Summary
Title:Sketch Nation ShooterDeveloper:Engineous Games
Reviewed Ver:Pre-release copyMin OS Req:Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. 3.1
Price:App Size:20.3 MB
  • clever UI
  • unique concept
  • total game customisation
  • share/download with others
  • image capture can be tricky at times
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Rat-a-tat-tat! Shooter games are in TMA’s house!

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