Size doesn’t matter.
In what seems like a nod in the direction of so many big screen Hollywood blockbusters, Gameloft’s gritty shooter 9mm brings maverick cop John “Loose” Kannon and his particular brand of gangland justice to the ever so small screen of the iPhone, and the somewhat larger iPad. Seriously, with on-screen controls and such a small playing area, how much action can be squeezed in?
As it turns out, quite a lot. 9mm comes packed with 12 chapters of a very linear story that will see poor old John having to deal with gang bosses and even the Police as he bends, or even breaks, the law whilst trying to keep the people he cares about safe. I’ll be honest, the story is not where the game really shines. If you are wanting a deep and meaningful investigation into justice and morals, it will probably be best to look elsewhere. 9mm is all about the action.
Playing this third-person shooter comes down once more to using a virtual joystick, of which I am not usually a fan. As it happens, it works quite well here and the on-screen buttons for shooting and such all do their job. Interestingly, players can use the gyroscope function to control their view. Whilst this may sound like, and indeed is, hard work, having to constantly hold the device up, it actually means that there is less to do on the screen and makes the rest of the controls much easier to handle. Although this will still leave you looking like a wally if playing in public. There is also a rather nice slow-motion feature that can be used when available to make aiming easier and allow the player to perform some movie-like “leaping through the air and taking out all of the bad guys” stunts. The player has to wait for this ability to recharge in between uses, so use it wisely.
The environments through which the game is played are all your standard action movie setpieces, with a wide range from tight hallways to wide-open warehouses. The action moves quickly from one place to the next, with the occasional cut-scene or quicktime event punctuating the flow and allowing the player to gather their thoughts. Along with this, a good selection of weapons and a suitable soundtrack would seem to ensure that 9mm has everything it needs to become a damn good action game.
But then, just like many movies, it is all over. The 12 chapters fly past all to quickly, with the easy mode being completed in under four hours. The player could then try the game out in normal or hard difficulty, but I think that most players would at that point venture into the online multiplayer arena.
With up to 12 players in each game, the 9mm online mode is a lot of fun. Players are able to level their character and earn new weapons and skills as they play the game, giving a great reason to keep coming back. Although there are only two game modes at the moment, deathmatch and team deathmatch, and four large maps, 9mm offers one of the best online multiplayer experiences I have ever seen on the iOS.
Even the visual side of the game is impressive. Don’t be expecting anything groundbreaking, but the graphics of 9mm are certainly competent enough to not distract from the gameplay. In may ways, the textures actually go so far as to enhance the gritty atmosphere of the game.
9mm may have a non-existant story and a lack of gameplay variety. But ignore these factors and you are left with an incredibly entertaining thrid-person shooter with a decent online mode. If you take into account that this is all happening on iOS, it becomes even more impressive. If action on iOS is what you are looking for, 9mm is definetly worth playing.
9mm is available for both iPhone and iPad on the App Store at £4.99