Cmune Goes Cross-Platform With a Facebook FPS, UberStrike

Cmune is working on improving its first-person-shooters on Facebook once again, with a new launch by the name of UberStrike. Don’t let the new title fool you, however, as the new application appears to be yet another iteration on the company’s first Facebook game, Paradise Paintball. Having launched back in April of 2009, the shooter platform got a significant upgrade in March of this year. Since Paradise has only around 320,000 MAU on Facebook,it seems likely that Cmune will need some luck with the UberStrike makeover to make a difference.

The “new” title is functional on PCs, Macs, Facebook, MySpace, as an Apple Widget, and on Cmune’s own portal, according to the company. The big difference between UberStrike and Paradise Paintball is a more crisp interface, and a change from the paintball concept. That said, it still feels like an average online first person shooter with little new innovation

Players start by creating a simple avatar with a bat and machine gun. Once in a game, created by either Cmune or another player, it’s time to shoot each other up in either team or free-for-all deathmatches. The person/side with the most “splats” at the end of the time limit wins, and overall performance earns varying levels of experience towards new levels.

This is similar to most other modern, online FPS titles, in that level gates the types of weapons and armor one can buy. As one might expect, these boost stats such as damage, rate of fire, damage absorption, and so on (there are also simple decorative outfits). Unfortunately, the only way to earn money is to log on every day, so it’s new users face a wait to buy anything, unless they wish to purchase virtual currency.

Player purchases could theoretically create a game imbalance for new users, but we only rarely came across such players, and each level does have a fair amount of weaponry scattered about (sniper rifles, rockets, etc.) to help even the odds. However, the weapons really only seem to boil down to one’s play preference more than anything else. Nothing truly feels better than any of the others and, at least early on, the beginning machine gun is more than sufficient.

This gray zone between all the items extends across UberStrike. Even the four levels are simplistic adaptations of Paradise Paintball levels (though they are getting better with jumping platforms, item placement, and decent sniping positions).

Perhaps this changes at higher levels, or when more users are purchasing newer and better weapons. Nevertheless, the argument of “it gets better later on” is never a good one. If the player loses interest in the first five to ten minutes there will never be a “later on.”

UberStrike doesn’t feel like it takes advantage of Facebook either. There doesn’t seem to be a clear way to invite Facebook friends, and the only add friends mechanic consists of messaging random users from previous deathmatches. The only other social feature (other than chat) is clans. None of this is bad, but all can be found in just about any other online shooter. The only remotely interesting element is that users can create games with quirky rules such as instant kills, low gravity, or weapon limitations.

In the end, UberStrike is a reskin of Paradise Paintball that utilizes dated FPS game play mechanics within a social networked environment. As the numbers have shown, these games rarely grow large on Facebook; social gamers rarely latch on to anything synchronous or reminiscent of a core game.