Over the weekend, an interesting new game dropped into the App Store called Bastards [99¢] from developer Octavian Stirbel. Bastards is a Western-themed FPS that’s built on the Doom Classic [$6.99] iPhone source code which was released for public use under the GPL License. There have been a number of games released in the App Store (both authorized and unauthorized) that have used the Doom engine, but frankly not many of them have been very good. Bastards is one of the good ones though, and despite being a fairly short ride it’s worth checking out if you liked Doom on the iPhone and are looking for something new.
Bastards is pretty light on story, but all you really need to know is you play as the cowboy Boot Mckane who is on a mission to kill every last member of the Bastards Gang. The game only contains 3 single player levels, but each one is pretty expansive. Much like Doom, you’ll need to explore each of the maps to find colored keys that gain you access to locked areas and allow you to progress, adding a very small puzzle element to all of the outlaw blasting. Since this is based on Doom, the controls work very well on the touch screen, and there is no y-axis so no need to worry about aiming up or down. There are 3 different options for control layouts, and the ability to turn off the HUD elements if you want.
So basically, Bastards is a solid FPS in the classic style of Doom, but what really won me over about it is the Old West theme. Weapons include classic six-shooter revolvers which can be dual-wielded, or sticks of dynamite instead of the typical rocket launcher. Health pickups are represented by bottles of liquor, and armor pickups are little sheriff badges that add to your “authority level”. The landscapes are open plains littered with cacti, horses, and chickens (which can be shot or blown up). Enemies are an assortment of gun slinging outlaws, and the various sound effects add to the spaghetti Western feel of the game. In a world chock full of space-themed shooters, there’s just something fun about blasting away bad guys in the Old West.
While Bastards isn’t some ground breaking game release, it’s definitely a really fun pick up if you have your expectations set appropriately. The graphics and gameplay are old school, but the levels are well designed and there is a ton of enemies to dispatch. My biggest complaint is that the game is too short, but the 3 included missions will give you a couple of hours worth of play and the developer is planning on releasing more episodes down the line. There is also a local multiplayer mode to engage in co-op campaign or deathmatches with friends who have a copy of the game, adding some replay value.
The positive impressions from members in our forums is what lead me to give the game an honest shot, and I’m glad that I did. It may not be the prettiest or most fully-featured FPS available, but Bastards is a good amount of retro fun for the price, especially if you are a fan of Doom on the iPhone.
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