We recently got our hands on Ngmoco’s currently untitled first person shooter, codenamed “LiveFire”, at this year’s WWDC. LiveFire (the actual name should be announced very soon) handles a lot like Quake 3 or Unreal Tournament, but this iPhone shooter is unique in that it is played exclusively online, with no bot matches or single player campaign.
Over the 3G or wi-fi network, up to four players can compete in a rapidly respawning round of deathmatch. Instead of racking up kills, your score at the end of the round is based on how many experience point icons you pick up.
Each player starts with a handful of icons, which explode out of your body when you’re riddled with bullets or vaporized by a death beam. Players get to keep the XP that they’re left with at the end, which can be used to gain levels and unlock customized skins like tiger stripes or a USA flag.
Controls work surprisingly well for this FPS. Touching anywhere on the left side of the screen moves your character like the WASD keys on a keyboard, while the right side of the screen adjusts your view. When you center on another player, you’ll automatically start shooting, or you can tap the center of the screen.
Using auto-fire, you can focus on moving and shooting, with only occasional taps if you want to, say, shoot your rocket launcher a few feet ahead of a moving enemy. You can also shake the device to pick up other weapons, or to taunt a fallen foe.
Probably the most interesting aspect of this game, besides the fact that it’s an online FPS for the iPhone, is the variety of playable character types, a la Team Fortress 2. Instead of having a team of clones with the exact same abilities, you can select characters like a heavy weapons gunner with high strength, but slow movement speed. Other characters include a speedy scout, a stealthy sniper, a special ops ranger with extra sensors, and an aquatic trooper who moves twice as fast in water.
Our only concern about the game is that it contains just four maps to start, and the one we played was a bit cramped. It was essentially a pool with a few whitewashed hallways and columns surrounding it. Also, you can’t customize the length of the round, and other gameplay modes like King of the Hill, Team Deathmatch, and Capture the Flag won’t be available at launch.
LiveFire felt perfectly at home on the iPhone, though, and we’re sure that if it gathers a following, more gameplay modes and maps will come along eventually. LiveFire is due out later this summer, and we’re looking forward to playing it much more. Check out our exclusive video below.