Gun Bros 2 is a new iOS release from Glu Mobile, and the sequel to the company’s successful Gun Bros game from 2010. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store with additional in-app purchases of in-game currency.
Gun Bros 2, like its predecessor, is a top-down perspective action game in which players take on the role of one of two obnoxiously masculine “bros” and then work their way through a series of missions in which the aim is to obliterate waves of attacking enemy forces as quickly and efficiently as possible. The game is controlled via a virtual twin-stick system, with the left stick handling movement and the right stick handling firing in an independent direction to movement. As the player acquires additional equipment, extra buttons may appear on screen which unleash special abilities when tapped, and these generally have a short “cooldown” period before they may be used again.
Between missions, players may re-equip their selected character with items found during missions or purchased from the in-game shop using either soft or hard currency. Items may also be upgraded in exchange for hard currency to make them more effective. Some items may not be equipped unless one of the player’s guns has a “power rating” of at least a certain value, so upgrading is often necessary to progress through the game and have enough power to take on the upcoming challenges. Prior to starting each mission, the player also has the option to pop up a “recommendation” window that features a somewhat gratuitous image of a large-breasted female character (see image below) who is otherwise irrelevant to the game, and this window usually recommends a gun that is 1) massively overpowered for the upcoming mission and 2) will usually require in-app purchases to acquire at the point it is recommended.
Social features for the game include the ability for players to recruit their Game Center or Facebook friends who are also playing the game as a secondary AI-controlled character that supports them in the single-player missions. The game will use the equipment that the Game Center or Facebook friend has equipped in their game to determine the AI character’s capabilities. It’s a nice touch that gives a feeling of playing in “multiplayer” without both players having to be online at the same time. There is also a live multiplayer “endless” mode for one or two players to compete in, but a particular amount of progress must be made in the single-player campaign before this is accessible. It would have been nice to at least have the option to play the campaign mode with a live online friend or even a random stranger found through Game Center matchmaking.
Gun Bros 2 is a fun, solid game, but it is rather repetitive after a while and doesn’t seem to have moved on significantly from its 2010 predecessor in terms of gameplay. Its visuals have undergone a significant upgrade — and consequently the new game does not support older hardware such as the iPhone 3GS or first-generation iPad — but its gameplay still largely consists of mindless violence that can be made significantly easier with the expenditure of real money. A few tweaks to the formula here and there, such as the addition of controllable tanks and difficult boss confrontations, mix things up slightly, but not enough to distract from the fact that this is the same old twin-stick shooter gameplay from 2010. There’s nothing especially wrong with the game and it’s certainly worth a play — it’s just not a particular leap forward for mobile gaming in any way.
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A solid freemium shooter — just don’t expect anything revolutionary.