What follows is part moan about the freemium model, part musing about how good Gunner Z could’ve been if not for its constant bloody virtual panhandling.
Gunner Z is – yes – another zombie game, and here our unnamed protagonist is the gunner for a (potential) fleet of tank type vehicles.
Technically, technically, Gunner Z is pretty good, in the sense that it uses the Unreal Engine to good effect. Ultimately, Gunner Z feels a bit like a black-and-white first-person vehicle-based side mission thingy from Gears of War or similar.
That probably sounds pretty cool, and on the surface, you’d be right.
But being a freebie, Gunner Z is all geared towards making you pay money – having installed the game for free. Don’t get me wrong; I realise that’s just the way mobile developers are going about it these days, but BitMonster succeeds in being particularly offensive.
For starters, Gunner Z is really stupidly difficult. The missions are split into several sections, and no matter how good you are at fending off zombie hordes and managing ammo, there’s no way in hell you’re finishing that mission without continuing several times – assuming you have enough BX (the secondary currency).
If you’re unable to continue (i.e. out of BX), you might fancy deploying RAMPAGE mode for 69p a pop, which sees you resurrected with all attributes doubled. Having taken advantage of the RAMPAGE freebie (the classic drug dealer tactic; just try one, it’s free), I still failed to complete the mission I was on. Incredible.
Of course, there’s a shop/upgrade system, and investing a whack of real-world cash will make things a whole lot easier, guy. Thank you please.
Whether investing in-game funds or GBP, you can upgrade your vehicle’s armour, guns and sensors for detecting zombies. Needless to say, sticking with in-game funds, it’ll take forever to make any sort of tangible progress, and worse still, Gunner Z adopts waiting times for upgrades and repairs. Sigh.
In another stinker of a move, some missions can be replayed in order to harvest funds and that, but only the really freakin’ difficult ones.
And as if all that wasn’t enough, Gunner Z will come right out and ask for money at points, perhaps in the form of an ad for the Money Doubler at £2.99. “Hey Gunner! I’ve got something here that might interested [sic] you. How about it?” FURG. OFF.
It’s all very frustrating, as Gunner Z could’ve been a lot of fun had BitMonster charged, say, 69p and relaxed the in-game purchase element.
But like I say, that’s the way loads of games are going these days, and it seems to be the most lucrative model for developers, so who’s to blame here; BitMonster or idiotic smartphone gamers?
- Looks good
- Stupidly difficult
- The freemium stuff
- Just not fun
Summary: Gunner Z is less undead shooter, more zombie-based money-grabbing machine. Avoid. Unless you’re the kind of person who doesn’t mind repeatedly making in-app purchases in order to make progress.
Price: free @ App Store (with in-app purchases)
Compatibility: Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPad and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.