Even after browsing the description of Pixlgun 3D on the app store, you may still not know what to make of it. It looks like Minecraft, but it’s a shooter. It emulates analog sticks on a touchscreen, but boasts fantastic control. And it looks cartoony, but offers a very real sense of panic and dread. In short, it’s a game that will pleasantly surprise you on several fronts.
Pixlgun 3D bills itself as a “survival shooter,” and that label describes the game’s action quite well. With no story or plot to speak of, you are tossed into a blocky world where you must defend yourself against a wide array of enemy types ranging from bouncing blobs to skeletons to blood thirsty birds. Almost everything that moves can kill you and should be treated as a threat.
The arenas that make up the game world are modeled after settings like hospitals, deserted streets, and Egyptian ruins. Various power-ups such as health boosts and weaponry litter the levels and your time will be split pretty evenly between dispatching enemies and searching for better guns or ammo. Each level has a set number of foes that must be dealt with before you can move on to the next stage, and once that number hits zero a portal opens up allowing you to progress.
The difficulty ramps up with each new level and it doesn’t take long to find yourself stuck in a corner without ammo or an exit. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you view microtransactions in general) you are afforded the ability to purchase items from a shop at any time you wish. The shop offers only in-app purchases using actual cash, and there’s no in-game economy that allows you to purchase ammo or health in the same manner.
Perhaps the most pleasant surprise that Pixlgun 3D provides is its buttery smooth controls. Many games that attempt to emulate twin analog sticks on-screen fail horribly, but that’s just not the case here. If you’ve played a first-person shooter on modern consoles the learning curve is extremely small and you’ll be picking off blocky bad guys in seconds.
For USD$0.99, there’s quite a bit of content here and if your trigger finger is fast enough to save your life without having to spend money on in-app aids, it’s a fantastic value.