Extraction: Project Outbreak is about the blandest name that this game could have been given, and the screenshots don’t help. At first glance, the game looks like just another top-down shooter with generic infected enemies. However, Extraction is the type of game you need to play to understand how unique it is. It mixes a simple one-finger control scheme with deep gameplay to provide a tactical experience without all the screen clutter.
The premise of Extraction isn’t all that interesting: Your character is a private military contractor who drops into areas, completes his task and calls down an extraction plane. As you make your way through the wasted city, new enemy types will show up and you’ll uncover the truth behind the disease. The story barely comes together and is only there to provide a reason for the contractor to continue to put himself in danger. However all of this is trivial, as the real reason to play Extraction is the combat.
Be careful where you aim those things.
Controlling the character’s movement is as easy as tapping where you want him to go. Shooting is equally simple: drag your finger over the enemies you want to kill and bullets fly. You can switch between your two weapons at any time, as well as use grenades. Special deployable weapons, such as missile strikes and turrets, can be dragged into the game from a pop-out panel.
As simple as the controls sound, there’s a lot of depth to how you use them. Dodging rushing enemies, quickly taking down spinning razor-blade drones, and using the environment to your advantage is possible due to the surprisingly high level of finesse that the controls allow. It’s a testament to the strength of these controls that you have more control over the action with one finger than most dual-stick shooters allow for.
Mission structure is loose in that you can pick and choose which of the four mission types you want to complete in order to progress. These range from escorting soldiers to a bunker, to defending a technician while he repairs turrets, to rescuing scientists and reaching the evacuation point within a limited amount of time. There are also the simpler ‘kill X enemies and extract in X amount of time’ missions, which is what we opted for when available, as AI characters in the other mission types occasionally bugged out, causing us to restart the mission. In addition to the main objective, each mission has intel that drops from specific enemies around the map. Collecting these awards bonus credit for weapon upgrades.
Blood on the dance floor.
Upgrades in Extraction come in two forms: character and weapons. Credits obtained through missions can be used to purchase a wide variety of weapons, special deployables (turrets, drones, etc.) and upgrades for both. Your character is given an upgrade point every time he levels up, which can then be put into one of four stats. The constant stream of upgrades and the noticeable effect they have on performance is a major factor in keeping the player going.
The one thing Extraction could use is more mission variety. After reaching the end of the game, we grew tired of repeating the same four objectives, albeit on different maps. Luckily, the level design is good enough that the game stays fresh enough to keep your interest.
Extraction is an easy recommendation to anyone looking for a simple yet deep game that can be played in quick spurts or for extended periods of time. It may not have the interesting story they tout in the App Store description, but the gameplay more than makes up for any missteps.