It's hard to believe that it's been over three years since Mountain Sheep's Minigore [$0.99 / $1.99 (HD)] hit the App Store. While the game started out small, it'd see multitudes of updates, making it one of the first "big" dual-stick arena shooters to hit iOS. Fast-forward to today and Minigore 2: Zombies [Free] looks to come out of the gate with tons of content, along with small refinements to the arena shooter formula. Unfortunately, fans looking for significant innovations will probably need to look elsewhere as Minigore 2 is really more of the same.

If you're one of the few that have never heard of Minigore, you've probably at least played its genre: the dual-stick arena shooter. Minigore 2 continues the genre trend, placing players in moderately sized levels with the goal being to survive and destroy every zombie that gets thrown into the mix. Taking out the opposition earns 'souls,' which act as the game's single currency. In addition, weapons, health kits, and four-leaf clovers (which still activates character powers) can also be found, giving players a leg-up on the opposition. Each level culminates with a boss battle that showers the player with rewards if the boss is defeated. At this point, missions can either be restarted with harder foes (a new 'night') or players can move on to a new level.

While Minigore 2 doesn't really deviate from the traditional arena shooter, it does attempt to add a few new additions to spice up the gameplay. For starters, Minigore 2 offers a challenge system that lets players work towards completing certain objectives. Challenges range from environment specific (find and tap a specific element in a level) to weapon specific (gun down a number of zombies with a machine-gun) to gore-centric. Meeting challenges (along with defeating enemies) earn experience towards levels, which unlock more characters and weapons for purchase. While the challenge system isn't particularly innovative, it's still a nice addition and gives players a secondary objective to all the zombie killing.

Like the original Minigore, the traditional dual-stick control scheme still exists as well as an auto-aim system which effectively takes the 'dual-stick' out of the dual-stick shooter. While auto-aim worked relatively well for me, I'm not the biggest fan of relinquishing that much control to the AI. Because of this, I imagine most gamers would choose to forgo this option but I think it's a great addition for newbies to the genre.

The most important area where Minigore 2 expands on the original is the sheer amount of customizability. Not only are there loads of new weapons, but there's also a decent amount of environments available at the onset for unlocking. In addition, Minigore 2 continues the tradition of having tons of cross-over characters, each with their own stats and upgrade paths. When you add in the fact that each weapon and character can be upgraded a great deal, folks will have plenty to spend their souls on.

The refinements continue to other facets of Minigore 2. Visually, while Minigore 2 looks similar to its predecessor, improvements to the engine have the game looking a lot clearer and brighter than the first Minigore. Additionally, Minigore 2 has upped the ante of available enemies on screen, with support for over 150 simultaneous enemies. While I wasn't keeping track too closely as to the number of enemies I was taking on, I can attest to the fact that the game ran pretty smoothly on my iPhone 5 regardless of what was thrown at me.

While all the improvements above are all well and good, the biggest issue confronting Minigore 2 is the simple fact that there isn't anything groundbreaking added to the formula. Sure, the inclusion of challenges and the onslaught of new weapons and enemies are nice, but the overall game really plays like more of the same. When you take into consideration that Minigore 2 remains a basic arena shooter, this feeling of familiarity seems to be stronger as it really feels like there's been no depth added to the game. A new update has added a Hardcore mode which adds a bit of variety, but not much. While there's plenty of weapons and customizability available to players, they do little to actually change the game, which is (and always will be) a simple shooter.

Of course, that's not to say Minigore 2 isn't fun. In fact, I'd say this sequel is pretty high up there when it comes to basic dual-stick arena shooters. However, a lot has changed in the iOS gaming community in the three plus years since Minigore first launched. While a dual-stick arena shooter of this type was somewhat novel back then, today the genre is chock-full of contenders. The never-ending quest to get noticed means most titles need to offer some innovation or decent refinement just to rise above the rest. Being the sequel to a popular game, Minigore 2 doesn't need any of that. Yet, I can't help but feel that if this was made by any other developer, we really wouldn't care that much.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • dibdib

    Since when is making a game bigger+better a _negative_ point to review? By this logic, Super Mario Bros 3 was just another platformer where he grabs coins and jumps on things. It didn't matter that the era was swamped in other similar games--Nintendo did it _better_.

    As far as the final line, I don't think most developers could pull this off. With so many enemies moving around, bullets flying, explosions, death animations, it cannot be a small feat that it runs under the memory constraints of an iPhone. This is a highly polished, well playing game and should be every bit a must-have as the first game, even three years later.

    And as long as we're comparing Mountain Sheep to other developers, let's not overlook the absence of a scummy IAP structure. It's unfortunate that the nature of the mobile market pushes them to have it at all. But as long as they do, at least they're respectable about it. Money is plentiful and any further purchase beyond the cover charge can be considered a shortcut or gratuity.

    • toxiccheese

      Why get all worked up over it? It's just his opinion.

  • Rdkjr11

    This game gets 3.5 stars and yet reskinning angry birds over and over and over gets 5 stars?? Why do I even read these anymore?

    • tom devaney

      Alright, don't read them then; simple as that.

      • http://twitter.com/TouchedWieners Tyler Piderit

        The reason why there is a comments section is to discuss the article at hand. Right? If you read the review and have an opinion as well, then post here. Simple as that.

        Touch Arcade makes money from traffic and eyeballs to the site. Good or bad.

      • http://twitter.com/TouchedWieners Tyler Piderit

        The reason why there is a comments section is to discuss the article at hand. Right? If you read the review and have an opinion as well, then post here. Simple as that.

        Touch Arcade makes money from traffic and eyeballs to the site. Good or bad.

  • M. Niazy

    Agreeing with the posts below.

    This game is simply unrivalled in its smoothness and fluidity, and I haven't had a single frame skip on my iPad 3 despite having over a hundred enemies on screen. The music, art and voices are amazing, and the gameplay is pure fun. A masterpiece that deserves at least 4.5/5.

    I have a couple of complaints though. One is about the inconsistency. You can access the shop through the menu, then why the heck do they have the annoying wagon floating about? Why do some characters have voices and others don't? It makes it feel like an incomplete game.

    Two, the game doesn't have the intensity of the first one. I guess it had to be that way since they added some strategic elements with the item drops.

  • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

    You guys act like 3.5 stars is a bad score.

    • Rdkjr11

      Eh, it's not bad. It's mediocre. And the changes from the last game and the gameplay is not mediocre, it's actually rather impressive. I personally thought "Wow this is what a sequel should be like." While playing it.

      I don't expect the writer to have to like what I like, but to rate the game down for having "nothing new" after rating angry birds (which isn't even improved, just reskinned) 5 stars is ridiculous. It just feels like you guys rate big games higher regardless of actual quality.

      • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

        You're off saying each AB game is just a reskin, that's simply not true.

        I love Minigore 2, it's one of my current favorites. But I think the criticisms are valid. Yes there are a ton of upgrades and stuff to unlock and work towards, but the very core mechanics aren't drastically different from the first game.

        And if actually playing the game doesn't do it for you, then what's the point of continuing on to unlock all that extra stuff? I can totally see why some people are really digging it, but I can also understand someone who is slightly underwhelmed by it.

        Again, 3.5 is just a notch off of a 4 star rating, I wouldn't even say that it's "mediocre" territory. It's a good score. My problem is once I unlock every last thing, will I keep playing just because? I don't think so, but we'll see. I'm enjoying it a lot now, though.

      • zerilos

        If you have any doubts that the 3.5 star rating was intended to be considered mediocre, Eric makes it certain at the end when he suggests that had the game been designed by anyone else, people probably wouldn't even care about it.

      • zerilos

        Funny thing is, I actually agree with the rating; however 3.5 stars is definitely considered a mediocre rating.

      • lena98765

        3.5/5 translates to 7/10 on review aggregators, which gives it an orange light, which means "mixed". I think that's an accurate indication of what a 3.5 means for many people. Of course it doesn't mean it's a bad game, but in a world where there are so many great games, it usually means that you can skip it. In this case, that's also exactly what I get from the text of the review.

        I don't feel each AB game is just a reskin, but you cannot deny that in all those games "the very core mechanics aren't drastically different from the first game", and yet they do continue to get 5 star reviews.

      • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

        We gave the original Angry Birds 5 stars, and their sequels were at least as good or better. Why wouldn't they get 5 stars? They also DID add fundamental changes, like gravity in Space and an entire lineup of new birds in Star Wars, among other things.

        We didn't give star ratings when Minigore came out, but we gave it an equally middling review. Didn't hate it, but it was pretty basic and not overly exciting. There's nothing that feels fundamentally different in Minigore 2 from the first gameplay-wise, there's just a whole lot more "stuff." That doesn't necessarily make it better, though this review does come off as more positive than the first game.

        Somebody that thought the first Minigore was a 5 star game would be blown away by this sequel, but if you were kind of "meh" to the first game I don't think there's anything here that's necessarily going to change your mind.

      • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

        Also I should add that your first two sentences are exactly why I wish we didn't have star ratings. I hate the idea that there's some sort of threshold for when a game is good or bad. Some of the games I've enjoyed most over the years have been ones that got bad review scores, and i would have missed out on a ton of meaningful gaming experiences if I'd skipped them because of a score.

      • Rdkjr11

        I can't agree with this post enough. Well said. Just wish good review = good game and bad review = bad game, instead of some bad games in good reviews and some good games in bad reviews.

  • Tristan Pilepich

    3.5 for such a polished, genre-defining game is pretty weak. Haven't played a $1 game this much since 1000000... I'm just glad I bought it before being influenced by the cruddy score.

  • Hehateme78

    3rd person shooting arcade games are my favorite genre, and this shooting is about as fluid and smooth as it gets out there, which should warrant 3 stars in itself. Couple same w/ the new stages, characters and weapons should warrant another star. Add the fact that the iap structure is more rewarding than any other game I have purchased, this game is a 5 star game and it's unfortunate it got a mere 3.5. Levels do not automatically translate into better gameplay when there is a subtantial amount going on in the arena play. The angry bird analogy is applicable and it's hard to argue that the newer versions added more substance to this puzzler so I agree w/ the aforementioned.
    Shooting in this game is as good as it gets and I failed to even notice that this game is not level structered because there are so many arena's apart from the fact that you eventually die before going on to the next stage but is that enough to knock so much off the rating? Not IMO. This game is a classic just like angry birds and deserved more.

  • FelipeCP

    The first Minigore had tons of potential, it was one of those games that had the chance to be synonymous with iOS/mobile gaming the way Angry Birds is now. Unfortunately, all Mountain Sheep did was build up promises that were never met and build hype that never really materialized. It was insane how long they took to update the game to give it "extra maps" when it was the same exact map, only with snow. The last sentence of this review is completely true, if it was made by any other developer, nobody would care about this mediocre game. Mountain Sheep had their chance with Minigore and they blew it.

Minigore 2: Zombies Reviewed by Eric Ford on . Rating: 3.5