Since the days of the original Robotron in the early 80’s, twin-stick shooters have had a special place in the hearts of shooter fans. There’s a surprising amount of them on iOS, but we’re always happy to see one more if it’s done well. Lock ‘n’ Load is just the sort of fun diversion older action fans can sink their teeth into.
The game places players into the over-sized boots of a hockey mask-wearing bloke in a jump suit, who decides to take action after some kids trample his flowers. As it turns out, those kids are actually monsters summoned by some crazy goth chick who wants to rule the world. Much gunplay and violence then ensues.
We all float down here.
The story is tongue-in-cheek and mostly for laughs, though the protagonist seems to be locked in a 1980’s time warp given the way he constantly spouts lines from that era’s action movies. It’s mildly funny, but quickly gets a bit tiresome. That minor quibble aside, the game itself is an enjoyable trip through Halloween land, with colorful, cartoonish graphics.
Lock ‘n’ Load has excellent controls for the most part. There is an option between the game auto-aiming and manually aiming (with some auto-assistance). Either method works quite well with the main machine gun, but the shotgun is painfully difficult to aim accurately and has really questionable hit detection. There’s also a flame thrower later in the game, which is fun but burns through ammo rapidly.
Time to hit the Oregon Trail, goth style
The base machine gun is the easiest gun to use, but sadly, it’s the only one that can’t be upgraded. Money is slowly earned while playing, and can be used to upgrade the other guns, buy more ammo, health, and even new outfits. It accumulates a little too slowly, however, almost forcing players to use real money to buy in-game cash if they want to upgrade in a hurry.
Levels range from the suburbs to graveyards and haunted houses. New enemies and boss creatures pop in regularly to shake things up, and the pacing of the action is consistently lively. The game can be very challenging, but not absurdly so. Overall, Lock ‘n’ Load is a fun shooter with an entertaining set up and characters. It’s not perfect, but provides a great little action fix.