When I first saw footage of Afterpulse [Free] in soft launch, I almost couldn't believe what I was looking at. Developers are always claiming to have "console quality" graphics in their iOS games, but seeing this game in action was one of the first times I started believing the hype. In fact, some people in our forums thought it must be streaming from a server somewhere, because there's no way a mobile game could look that good (and have such a relatively tiny install size to boot, at less than 400MB). Well, I'm one of the few people around here to not have dummy accounts in other countries, so I anxiously waited until it would launch worldwide and I'd finally get to see how it played in person. And folks, that day has come and gone, and I've been have a gay ol' time shooting fools in the face since last week. There's no question the graphics are in a league of their own (for the time being), but does the rest of the game match up?

afterpulse2In Afterpulse by Gamevil you play as a generic military dude who has a fever, and the only prescription is more murdering. You'll run around in a variety of small-ish environments shooting other generic military dudes with names like "Cortez" and "Hicks", which will net you points, experience, and currency and all that good stuff. Yes, this is a pretty typical third-person shooter. In fact, it's a bit too typical, but we'll get to that.

At first all you're allowed to do is a training mode with bots, which is fine by me since I love playing against bots. (In fact, my favorite shooter ever is the original Perfect Dark, due in part to the absurdly extensive amount of customization you had over the bot matches. But I digress.) Unfortunately, you don't really have any control over the parameters of the training matches in Afterpulse, but that's okay. It's a great way to cut your teeth before jumping into multiplayer.

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And jump in you will, because multiplayer is the real draw here. Once you level up enough you'll get the option of playing a Team Deathmatch mode online, and after leveling up some more you'll soon unlock regular Deathmatch. Both modes are pretty much identical, other than one has you shooting some people and the other has you shooting all the people. Again, pretty typical stuff. And unfortunately, that's all you get. No Capture the Flag or Defend the Whatever or Defuse the Things or anything like that. Just two slightly different versions of the same basic thing.

afterpulse3While it's disappointing, it's also kind of refreshing. Not only does it keep things focused, but it also means pretty much every match I've played has been full (or close to it). That simplicity also extends to the gameplay itself, as there aren't any crouching or cover mechanics. Pretty much all you'll be doing is running and gunning, with very little nuance or strategy (at least compared to most modern shooters). In that way, it's much closer to something like Trigger Fist [Free] than, say, the latest Modern Combat [Free] game. The controls also reflect this simplicity, with two virtual sticks and very few buttons. It works really well, and I greatly prefer it to the convoluted mess other iOS shooters have on there screens.

afterpulse1The game is free-to-play, but it's actually super fair as far as these sorts of games go. There are two currencies--cash and gold--but they're both pretty easy to come by. You earn them rather liberally as rewards for playing the training and multiplayer modes, logging into the game for consecutive days, and completing Skill, Training, and Daily Missions. Once you have enough (and it won't take long to rack up quite a bit) you can spend your hard earned coin on new weapons and gear, along with repairing the weapons you bring with you into battle.

Wait, repairing weapons? Yep, it's an energy timer. It's not too bad, though, as you can always switch to a different weapon while your favorites repair (which doesn't take that long). Plus, your weapons only need repairs when you play multiplayer. Training mode has its own energy system, but that one's not too bad, either. Even if it runs out, you can just hop into multiplayer (where you'll get way more XP anyway).

Afterpulse is yet another example of a mobile game that strips away all the fluffy extras and instead focuses on delivering a tight, fun experience that's perfect for on-the-go gaming. Unfortunately, it sometimes feels a bit too focused, as it really could do with one or two other gameplay types beyond simple deathmatches. It also feels incredibly generic, with it's most distinguishing feature being how "photorealistic" the visuals are. Not that that's a bad thing, really, but imagine how jaw-dropping the game would look if all that fancy tech was actually in support of something genuinely unique that had some character. At the end of the day, though, that's not why we play dumb shooters like this, is it? We just want to kill stuff, and in that respect, Afterpulse can be a pretty great time.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • iamninja

    Wow the graphics look amazing! Can't believe it's on an iPhone 6. Looks more like something off a playstation 3.

  • TimTim92

    Nice review! May have to check it out. Kudos!

    • EvanJO14

      It is fun. It looked so good I downloaded it despite the energy and whatnot. Let me tell you, the energy and repairing weapons is so easy it's almost like it's not there. I'm convinced they could take it out and it would be the same game.

  • https://www.behance.net/rgdesignhouse Ron

    I really like the touch controls. I have a much easier time actually pointing my gun at the enemy in this than I do with MC5. And I reinstalled that and messed around with the sensitivity just to try and make it feel like this game and I couldn't. Maybe its got something to do with the third person view and the field of view, I dunno. Afterpulse definitely has me wracking up kills whereas I'm a fricking target dummy in MC5. On the down side, what the hell is an afterpulse???

    • Modjular

      So would you say, as far as iOS controls go, that after pulse does the controls pretty well? I've always been super-skeptical of fps controls in iOS, since adding a trigger AND a joystick for looking in the same spot seems to be a problem most shooters on iOS struggle with. What makes afterpulse different in this respect?

      • https://www.behance.net/rgdesignhouse Ron

        Hitting the trigger spot on the move is still not without issue...but the feel of the aiming is pretty good.

      • https://www.behance.net/rgdesignhouse Ron

        I figured out what it is. There's a little bit of aim assist going on in Afterpulse.

    • Tallgeese

      Wiktionary says, "
      A pulse (of energy) that follows some other event."
      I assume in the game's context it's maybe referring to the "train" of diminishing pulses following an EMP (ElectroMagnetic Pulse), possibly itself caused by a thermonuclear explosion.
      That's why you gots to draxx and sklounst those terries when you're in the combat seat, Jonathan Livingston Seagal.

  • pokah

    Game has gorgeous graphics and customizations but gameplay is pretty bleh.

  • Leguro

    I'd just prefer more than 4 minutes per match (or at least an option). Also I use it with my PlayStation 4 controller. I wish I could control the movement with the left stick of the controller and shoot and scope with left trigger and left bumper ,and then use the trackpad (or iOS screen) to look/aim. That way I would have the superior movement of a substance and the superior aiming of a trackpad/touchscreen.

  • Jakeopp

    Looks like a potato on older devices (iPad mini 2nd Gen)

    • Jakeopp

      Not to mention I found the gameplay extremely dull, not my type of game I guess. Much prefer games like Blitz Brigade on mobile

    • Themostunclean

      The graphics in this share the same unfortunate quality of many other iOS games- all flash and no substance. Really not that impressive if you have a decent eye for detail. I'm on iPhone 6 and can see extremely low-res textures, animations that are really bad/super stiff and physics are almost nonexistent. Also, there are a lot of standard 3rd person shooter mechanics that were just plain thrown out the window. Framerate hitches pretty frequently too. On top of that, it's just not a very good game. Though you go to the reviews for this or a game like Dead Effect 2 and all you'll see are people gushing about the graphics "5 Stars!!!"

  • kjmathew

    One in depth review on the App Store said the percussion feel of the gunshots felt off compared to mc 5 and that ragdoll physics were absent. I think max Payne has the best rag doll physics.

  • https://www.behance.net/rgdesignhouse Ron

    I'm definitely hoping they add some more substance over time.

  • Mekklesack

    It's the respawnables!! Yay! Only photo realistic! Super cool!

  • ZeeMonkeyMan

    If this was on consoles and PC it would be labeled a generic pile of doggy Doo. Sorry but it's true and you know it!

  • ZeeMonkeyMan

    You say that people play shooters just to shoot people and that we don't care about unique characters and the like yet Team Fortress 2 which is full of unique characters and awesome character in general is one of the most played shooters still to this day 8 years after release!

  • bcredonk

    Put it perfectly, no fluffy extras haha, I wound up deleting it after awhile though because with the gun and equipment purchasing system it's super pay to win

  • bombakid

    When is it coming to android?

  • Mahmoud

    Hallo liebes afterpulse Team

    Ich finde das Spiel Hammer geil
    Aber ich kann das Spiel nicht mehr spielen da ich jz ein Android Handy besitze ...
    Und eine Menge Meiner Freunde ebenso

    Ich und bestimmt zich tausend weitere android Nutzer währe Ihnen sehr dankbar afterpulse auch für android frei zu stellen
    Ohne apks oder sonstigen hacks

Afterpulse Reviewed by Nathan Reinauer on . Rating: 4