In 9mm, you play as John Kannon (AKA ‘Loose’ Kannon), a foul-mouthed cop who’s not afraid to break the law in order to bring the pain to L.A. meth dealers. The game is geared toward mature audiences– in terms of F-bombs, it gives Grand Theft Auto a run for its money. But the real question is how it stacks up to other iOS games in terms of gameplay.
The movement and shooting controls are fairly standard, and everything is explained in a smooth tutorial that doubles as the game’s first mission. The one gameplay gimmick that separates 9mm from other third-person shooters is that you can initiate bullet time at the touch of a button. If you swipe the button, you do a slow motion dive in the direction of the swipe. Of course, bullet time isn’t an original idea, but this is Gameloft we’re talking about here, so we didn’t come for originality.
Bringing the payne.
The game’s storyline is sufficient to propel the game along, but it’s all over the place. One minute you’re saving innocents from a gang beat-down, the next minute you’re chasing some creep who’s trying to kidnap your daughter at the playground, and then you end up in an exploding strip club. On the plus side, the voice acting is mostly good. On the other hand, the constant cut-scenes become more intrusive the longer you play.
The story provides what amounts to a wrought-iron framework for the gameplay, making it an extremely linear game. From start to finish, you move from one objective to the next, never veering off the set path. Stray too far from your objective, and you fail the mission– only to be sent back to the last checkpoint to try again.
Normally we might complain more about your lack of freedom in the game, but they’ve done a good job of varying your objectives. There are shoot-outs aplenty, as well as fist-fights, chases, and interrogations, which are done using quick-time events that make you tap or swipe quickly on the screen. These are usually a little easier than they need to be, but they do add spice to the gameplay. You also collect coins as you progress, which you can spend on new weapons and armor.
Make it rain.
Unfortunately, there are some rather large difficulty spikes built into the game. Sometimes you’ll find yourself in a big room, taking fire from every direction, with few options for cover. Making matters worse, there’s no mechanic for taking cover, so you’ll often be exposed even when you’re standing behind a pillar or stack of boxes. Also, you can’t zoom in or aim down-barrel with your guns, so tagging far-away enemies is tough.
For those interested in competition, 9mm also provides a multiplayer mode, in which up to 12 people can play team or free-for-all matches in four different maps. Not as much attention has been paid to the multiplayer mode here as you’ll find in Modern Combat 2 or N.O.V.A. 2, but it works great, and gives the game a lot of replay value. It’s also impressive from a technical standpoint that it allows up to 12 players at a time in matches.
We have some smaller nitpicks with the game, too, like sometimes characters will move their lips when there’s no dialog, and flipping switches is more frustrating than it needs to be. But overall 9mm is an impressive action game that will keep you playing until the end. That said, if you’ve played a few of Gameloft’s shooters, you won’t find much here you haven’t seen before. But if you’re new to the polished (if unoriginal) world of Gameloft games, 9mm is a fine place to start.