Your aim is simple: shoot down a given number of zombies to advance to the next round. By hitting the zombies’ legs you can knock them down, which will slow them down for a while (if you don’t finish them within that time, they’ll stand up again and start running). That and performing head-shots will add money to your account which you can spend on new weapons. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before, but that’s not a criteria by which a game should be judged.
- Game: Welcome to Hell
- Developer: DVide Arts Incorporated
- Links: Developer Homepage, Product Homepage
- Genre: Action, Shooter, FPS
- Players: 1
- Version: 1.0.7
- Price: €2.10 (estimated, see Market for current price)
Creating a 3D shooter that works on smartphones is definitely a challenge. It’s not easy to get the graphics and sounds right, but compared to the challenge of balancing the game and creating working controls, this is nothing but a minor inconvenience and Welcome to Hell does an excellent job reminding us of that.
The good: The environments, weapons and zombies look fittingly gloomy. The dead move and crawl fluidly in a believable way, while some nice full-screen effects do a great job of enhancing the atmosphere.
Sadly, this is where the good news end: the arenas, while beautiful, are small and where they end is sometimes not completely obvious. Even more often the placement of the invisible walls seems entirely random, which makes for a lot of frustrating moments where you want to get away from a zombie only to suddenly stop dead in your tracks for no apparent reason.
Of course, in order to run away from the zombies you first have to know where they are. The game draws a CrazyTaxi-style arrow in the direction of the nearest zombie, which is a good start, but the most dangerous zombie is not necessarily the closest one: a second one to the right might suddenly start running and a third one may be behind one – maybe at a greater distance, but what good is that if that’s the direction you’re typically moving since you don’t have melee weapons, meaning that your primary goal is always to get as much distance between you and the zombies as possible?
That is, if you manage to move your character in the first place: while the movement (walking/strafing) via on-screen joystick is the most responsive part of the controls, that doesn’t mean that it reacts more than three times out of four, and a lot less often the way you wanted it to react: The area assigned to it is tiny compared to your finger, and movement is relative to the center of the area, not to where you touched down, meaning that you may run into the wrong direction until you figure out where the center of the tiny circle is.
Aiming works either the same way with a second virtual joystick (with the same issues, plus multi-touch does not work meaning you can either walk or aim, not both) or by swiping across the screen to turn. The swipe system generally works, aside from the multi-touch issues, but aiming is all but impossible since there’s no support from an auto-aiming system and the turn speed is strictly linear, meaning that turning and aiming happen at the same sensitivity: While the game allows you to configure this, that really only means that you can decide for yourself if you want to be able to aim or to turn quickly enough to get away from the zombies, never both.
Shooting works, as usual, by hitting a ridiculously tiny button and your weapon has to be reloaded from time to time (by hitting a slightly larger button).
Eventhough this is a native mobile game, Welcome to Hell feels like a port from a system that has a joystick. As it stands, it is almost entirely unplayable unless you have some alternative way of controlling it. The situation may be slightly better on bigger phones, but such serious problems can never really go away.