LAWLESS: DeNA’s Arcade Shooter Brings The HEAT To iOS…

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screenshot-1Another of DeNA’s surprises for mobile devices was this great looking fast paced arcade-style tap and shoot game, LAWLESS, that’s a surprisingly fun mash-up of classic light gun games such as Time Crisis, Virtua Cop and Area 51 and Michael Mann’s stellar crime flick, HEAT. If that sounds like a match made in coin-drop heaven it comes off even more excellently thanks to developers Eight Pixels Squared and DeNA Scattered Entertainment.

Sitting down with DeNA’s Barry Dorf for a quick look at the game, I was surprised at the combination of nicely realistic visuals and speedy timed gameplay that was immediately accessible and yes, addictive. Like the other games shown, this one’s free to play in solo or multiplayer modes with the option to buy in should one choose to upgrade. Based on some quick hands-on time with this one, I can see a lot of people opting in to spend a little to a lot of cash to keep this one going for a good long time…

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The two missions I saw (one of which I played) were lighting fast and used pop and shoot mechanics along with certain goal-based elements such as not shooting civilians or taking out shield-carrying guards. Like any decent shooter, you can expect environmental damage as you and your enemies trade fire, with glass shattering and bullet holes appearing in pretty much anything that’s hit. Add in a few Hollywood explosions plus quick, thrilling cut scenes and you get a game that’s not afraid to be bombastic as it shows off what some talented developers can do. Some of the team who worked on the game also did one of my favorite rail shooters, Dead Space Extraction on the Wii and if you’ve played that game and liked it, just amp up the action a few fold and you’ll get an idea of what to expect.

screenshot-2While the game is indeed pretty impressive for a mobile title, I think there are a few missed opportunities DeNa should explore. Having the ability to play as the police would be a nice touch for those who might not want to be so LAWLESS, so perhaps a future mission pack will allow for this. Also, one mission ended with a brief car chase cinema, but as far as I know, you and your crew do all your shooting on foot and moving automatically (par for the course in a great arcade shooter). It would have been nice to see a car chase sequence or even better, DeNA’s own Money Run emgine used here for playable chases through the game as the story progresses. I can see tose chases being added as paid game extenders down the road or perhaps even a custom version of Money Run at some point just to extend what looks to be a solid license.

As always with any mobile title, we’ll see how well it’s received and what sort of profit it’s making before anything major happens. DeNA plans to keep pumping out content on this one for a while and it’s certainly one of those games that should be a showcase title on iOS for a while. If you’re an iOS device owner, I say give it a shot and definitely yell at a few friends to hop into the pool as well. Better to play with a crew you know and trust, right?

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