Guns, gangs, drugs and corruption. It's a heady mix that fuels many of the best police dramas as well as a fair few games - and frankly, it was about time that Gameloft got in on the action. 9mm isn't big or clever, but if you're looking for slow motion combat and dirty police work, your prayers have been answered.
It's Max Payne meets The Shield. With some serious control issues.
John "Loose" Kannon is a dirty cop who shoots first, asks a few questions while beating up paedophiles (really, this happens less than a third of the way through the story) and then shoots anyone left standing. Gameloft's tried-and-tested third person engine provides the meat of the experience, with players steering Kannon through a satisfying storyline full of massive arenas and corridors full of perps to whack.
As well as an arsenal of pistols, shotguns and rifles, Kannon is also capable of utilising fairly liberal quantities of slow-motion Bullet Time. This ability can be used to slow down the action or engage in visceral leaps which level the playing field immediately. What would have felt cliched and hackneyed on PC feels fresh and exciting on an iThing - though some utterly pointless Quick Time Events do their best to derail the shenanigans at regular intervals.
Though the script is hilariously hammy and overblown, it actually works perfectly and captures the spirit of classic (and poorly made) cop shows. Some rudimentary lip synch also goes a long way towards creating a sense of immersion. Once you've dealt with the dozen stages, you'll be able to replay them or leap into a surprisingly sound multiplayer mode via Bluetooth or Gameloft Live. You'll encounter a little lag from time to time, but depending on your connection speed, chances are that you'll have a blast.
In terms of presentation, 9mm manages to impress despite some ropey texture work that becomes apparent on the iPad's bigger screen. However, smooth animations and the aforementioned lip-synch manage to carry it off, and the large selection of licensed Hip Hop music sets the tone nicely. Gameloft's could probably use a new engine in the very near future, but there's still life in it yet.
9mm only has one major problem... and frankly, I'm sick and tired of having to write about it. The control scheme simply isn't fit for task, especially on the iPad where the tiny icons are far too small to use comfortably. It's not quite a dealbreaker, but you'll spend more time cursing the controls rather than fighting your enemies.
- Fun gunplay, riotous action, awesome slow-mo
- Hammy and satisfying to the extreme
- Surprisingly competent multiplayer
- Awful controls
- Weak texture work considering the 1.3 GB file size
Summary: 9mm is big, dumb, ultraviolent fun. And that's why we love it.
Compatibility: Universal App: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1.3 or later.
Price: £4.99 - App Store