The legendary Contra series of run-and-gun shooters is no stranger to the App Store, and I’m not just talking about the countless unauthorized releases of the original NES ROMs that have snuck past Apple’s approval process over the years. Back in early 2013, Konami partnered up with Punchbox Studios for Contra Evolution, a reimagining of the original game that featured a new 3D visual style, new weapons and playable characters, and more. Originally released in China only, Contra Evolution did make its way worldwide in June of that year. It was… okay-ish, as we noted in our review. Controls were serviceable though not perfect, and Contra Evolution retained a lot that made the original so great, but also injected a fairly gross free-to-play system into the mix.
Contra Evolution stuck around for a few years but eventually was sent off to that great App Store in the sky, and in the spring of 2016 Konami announced a new partnership with Tencent to create a brand new mobile Contra game. That game would ultimately be called Contra Returns, and for the past few years it has become something of a hit in various countries around the world. It is developed by Tencent’s in-house TiMi Studios, who are responsible for existing games like Honor of Kings/Arena of Valor and Call of Duty: Mobile as well as upcoming titles like Pokemon Unite and the tentatively titled Metal Slug: Code J. Here’s the trailer for Contra Returns.
As you can see, Contra Returns takes a similar approach to updating the Contra franchise as Contra Evolution did back in the day. It retains the look of the series but updates it with 3D visuals, and of course it keeps the run-and-gun gameplay as that is the essence of Contra. It’s also free-to-play as heck, but in a more contemporary way than Evolution. Basically you have tons of single-player story content to play through, plus numerous online multiplayer modes. The weapons system is the big progress sink with multiple rarity levels of weapons, weapon shards for upgrading, and all that. There are also a freakishly large number of unlockable characters to play as. If you’ve played any of the bigger character-collector free-to-play games of the past few years, like Marvel Contest of Champions for example, you know what to expect here.
TiMi Studios recently asked if players outside of the regions where Contra Returns is available would be interested in a wider release. If that is you, then head over here to fill out this short survey and let them know that you’re interested. As I said before the game has become quite a hit in the places it has released. If you’re one of those types who have a bunch of iTunes logins for various App Stores around the world, then you can actually click this link right here to see if Contra Returns is available in one of them. The game is also available on Android. I myself am checking out the version from the Philippines App Store. However, if you’d rather have this game released officially in your own region, be sure to fill out the survey and let TiMi know that that’s something you want to see.