9mm – Android Game Review

Is a lot of swearing, Max Payne styled shoot-outs and a storyline heavily inspired by The Shield a formula for a great game? Well, no.  Read why.

After watching a three season marathon of The Shield, this title seemed worth a go. It was my first foray into the world of mobile 3D gun action games. Turns out for every plus, there’s a minus…

So, I can deal with cheesy names, but John “Loose” Kannon is a pretty overpowering cheese-fest. You play as the owner of this facepalm worthy moniker, and you are – in fact – a renegade cop. You and your ethnically balanced team of corrupt cops steal some money from a drug dealer. And his brother swears vengeance will be his. Or something.

To be fair to the game, I didn’t watch the cutscenes after the first couple. They’re detrimental to the game in my opinion, with some really shonky voice acting and a pretty incoherent script. Usually, I won’t even bother talking about cutscenes in my reviews, but 9mm makes such a point of its graphics, and ‘gritty’ dialogue that I have to point out that unless you’re twelve, you’ll not likely appreciate it.

Also worth noting is I tested the game on a HTC Desire S. A mid-range Android handset.

CONTROLS

This is what killed the game for me, if I’m honest. With a similar system to Modern Combat, you have a virtual stick on the left to control forward, backwards and strafe movement. You swipe the screen left or right to turn left or right, and there is a dedicated fire button at the bottom right-hand side. The weapon icon in the top changes weapon if swiped. There is also a dive stick on the right hand side. If you swipe over this then you will dive in slow motion in that direction.

So as you can see, quite a lot going on here. Now, I’m no newbie to games in general. But my hands were all over the screen, 90% of the time during firefights. This approach may have worked in FPS games, but it definitely does nothing for this one.

I sprint out into an enemy-infested corridor. I pull out my 12 gauge, and flick all over the screen like I’m playing Fruit Ninja. It probably takes a lot of practice to be any good at this, but ultimately with the complete lack of charm offered by the other aspects of the game, I didn’t feel compelled to.

GRAPHICS

For a mobile game, 9mm looks pretty good. It’s on a par with Grand Theft Auto 3, I’d say. So it looks nice, when you’re not watching the cutscenes. These can be skipped, so I’m not going to complain about them too much. Quite a lot of frame drops on my Desire S, though.

SOUND

The weapons sound pretty good, but there is terrible voice acting throughout. An example is the Mexican crews that you shoot your way through. They will shout things out during battle, but it sounds like a white guy doing a slightly racist impression of a Mexican. There are all sorts of things like this with the sound. I think they would have been better off just having text instead of voices, as this really shows the limits of a budget for developers. The soundtrack has few licensed tracks and suits the mood really well. Mostly urban hip-hop stuff.

MULTIPLAYER

There is a multiplayer function, and it seems to work rather well over Wi Fi. I just kind of wish I could control my character a little more! Pretty bog-standard deathmatch options.

OVERALL

Feels like a tech demo more than a game. The graphics will make you say “ooh, I can’t believe my mobile can do this”, but the actual controls and terrible audio experience will have put you off long before you finish the story. The Shield this isn’t.

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