iPhone App Video Review: Deadlock: Online

by Andrew Koziara

Deadlock: Online is a new shooter game, developed by Invulse Games and published by Crescent Moon Games. This shooter is dual-stick, and it's totally about the online multiplayer. There's barely any offline mode at all. Think Counter Strike, but dual-stick.

The gameplay is just like most dual-stick shooters. Aside from the dual sticks, you've got a grenade button, a reload button, and an ammo counter that you tap to switch weapons. Everyone starts at level one with the same submachine gun as well as a pistol with unlimited ammo. Get used to killing with and being killed by this gun. If you stay away from damage long enough, your health meter will fully recover. The gameplay itself is classic dual-stick done well; nothing really innovative, but nothing obviously wrong with it.

The online matches consist of Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Capture and Hold, which is just another name for Territories, with four, six, or eight players. There are also five maps to choose from here. As you play in matches online, you will gain experience and rank up, earning you unlock points to spend on better guns and equipment, like armor or attachments. This sounds like it would terribly unbalance the game, giving higher-level people an unfair advantage, much like in Call of Duty. But also like Call of Duty, it's easy enough to get kills with the lower level guns anyway as long as you are skilled with dual-stick aiming. Still, everytime there was someone level 20 or above, they dominated every session. If you want an unfair advantage, you can always just buy unlock points through in-app purchases.

There are constant daily and weekly tournaments going on, where the top players of the day or week receive prize bundles of unlock points, which is actually pretty cool. You can select from various avatars to play as, but it's pointless because it randomly changes when you respawn. The online itself in this game definitely needs a lot of improvement, though. I mean, you have to deal with strangers… on the Internet! It's the horror story that writes itself. Hosts can quit their matches and drop everyone right near the end, negating all experience. Many people set up boosting rooms, sending you elsewhere. The Quick Match option would take forever to find me a match half the time, and when I selected rooms myself from the Custom Match list, I would constantly be unable to join with no reason given. All of these factors have made it so that I barely leveled up after playing the game for half an afternoon. You can always host your own games for random people to join, of course, and I'm sure this game is much more fun playing with people you know.

I wouldn't talk about the online so much if this game had anything else going for it, but it doesn't. The offline mode is basically just practice. You can set up bot matches, but they're always very easy, and yield no rewards; no small amount of experience. As far as I can tell, there are no rewards at all for playing offline, which is really just lame. Why not offer unlockable avatars or something? There is a survival gametype which is pretty fun though. You kill hordes of guys who drop health and ammo for as long as you can. Aside from all of my horror stories, this game is actually quite good. When it works, it works great, and the matches are a lot of fun. The art style of the user interface and menus is great, and the actual graphics of the game serve their purpose. The best part is that this game is totally free, which kind of negates most of the annoyances. Check it out.

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