Cartoon Wars Gunner: Updated, On Sale and a Second Opinion

Blue GNC‘s Cartoon Wars – Gunner received an update just before the new year, and is temporarily on 50% sale for $0.99. Released mid-December, Cartoon Wars – Gunner is one of the iPhone’s premiere stick-figure action titles, and was rated a Buy when Daniel reviewed the game late last year.

The 1.01 update made significant improvements to the game’s controls. The new controls are intuitive, responsive and very well suited to the gameplay; big win.

Blue GNC has also announced a 1.02 update in the works, which will include new weapons, new enemies and a new Rush mode.

My take on the game is extremely positive, especially with the version 1.01 control revision. The enemies are simply but effectively designed and animated, with quite a bit of variety and personality. With accumulated gold from combat, there are eleven weapons to purchase and upgrade, and ten character attributes to improve, giving you plenty to think about as you develop your character. Each of your weapons comes equipped with a handful of skills to be unlocked via upgrades, including healing, area attacks and various character buffs.

The gist of the game is in blowing away hoards of mono-eyed assailants with your diverse arsenal of weaponry. Where the game stands apart from others of the like, however, is in the strategy of character progression. Gold fuels all of your improvements, and so you must decide where to spend it: improving your stats, purchasing new weapons, or upgrading weapons already in your possession to unlock skills and increase their effectiveness. And because you can carry only three weapons into combat, it’s important to choose your arms with some strategy in mind, ensuring that you bring along the skills necessary for survival. When in good health, for example, I like to fight using weapons that increase my gold and/or MP gain; but it would be foolhardy to rush into combat without carrying a weapon that allows healing. The weapons you wield also have undocumented attributes, such as movement speed, rate of fire and whether or not you can move while firing, all of which can play into your selection process.

Also impressive is the number of opponents that can flood the screen at any given time without a performance hit.

My only gripes against Cartoon Wars – Gunner are the generic techno soundtrack, which gets old quickly, and the necessity to manually save your game between stages.

I’ve been drawing stick-figures since childhood. With guns, with swords, in robots, in spaceships, in tanks, fighting monsters like giant stick-figure cats and winged stick-figure dragons. Cartoon Wars – Gunner is my drawings come to life! The art direction is remarkably similar to my own stick-figures, and the game allows them to do what I always imagined they would.

On the surface, Cartoon Wars – Gunner appears to be nothing more than a brainless and repetitive shooter. Beneath that surface, however, are layers of depth bolstering the experience to greatness. While the original Cartoon Wars fell somewhat flat for me, Cartoon Wars – Gunner is an action game I recommend without hesitation. With yet more additions and improvements already in the pipeline, there’s plenty to look forward to, and my curiosity is definitely piqued for future episodes in the Cartoon Wars series. If you have only one stick-figure shooter on your iPhone, I reckon this is the one.

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